People without money cope better than people with money on any given day especially when loss is afoot. I stole my loan from Temple university that was supposed to be for my grad program with no intention of ever paying it back or apologizing for my sudden departure. Social workers aree abused. I left the job that had poached me, took six weeks off, flew to Colorado to console my also deteriorating best friend, planned to move there but begrudgingly flew back to my old life and job. I took six weeks first.

“Commence devolvement!”

I was going to let myself fall deep, deep as I could go. I wore my magician gown and let my sneer spread in the mirror. Twirling for the mirror. For six weeks, I charmed her with my incantations and roses at the nightstand. My house was lit with alternating black and white votives and classical music, tarot decks and a budding synopsis that was plainly wrong but really I’m the fairest thing that ever happened to you. I know because I once saw the whole thing.  You could say I asked for it.

“God,” I began.

I was centered in sigil. My spine was straight, although I usually slouch. I usually admonish myself for taking up too much space on my couch; even alone, even privately, I shrink. This evening was different. I felt propped by something and sitting up, breathing softly, not nervous and with intention. The gasping I am used to transmuted into long, deep inhales; long, thrumming exhales. That night even the callous on my palm where I lay the plastic straw I can’t let go of, can’t stop twiddling as I walk around the city, felt soft.  It felt healed and my hands smelled like cherry blossom from the lotion I rubbed on my knees as I took care of myself, my needs, for once. Once a day, I drink water and rest. Once a day, I pause to smell a honeysuckle. Once in a while, I cease compulsion to drop the straw, pet a dog, move on.

I was melting; suffused with the moonstone resting on my lap, becoming waxing crescent. I was becoming spring. Dust around me tickled my shoulders to remind me: We are here to help you breathe. I immediately became breath. The room rocked like a cradle and I was swathed in her gentle nightlight. I was enveloped. Call the dust what you want, the noise what you want: dirt, fantasy, demons, guides, saints, Lilith and her coven (I light candles to all kinds), they were there that night using my forearms, using my hands, using my throat to sing. My diaphragm rose and fell with ease. God. I asked for breath. Breathe. I became breath. I became nestled in large silk strands.

“God,” I waited and then started again.

I let the fire in my chest build with each name I said until I could feel the slow burning rise to full flame. I waited until I could feel the full pounding of the floor dropping out, until I was hovering in air, until I was on the cloud. It’s the pyre I’ve been waiting for: the charred ribs, the suckled breasts, the ghosts that waft out of the ropes. I waited until I knew who to ask for; until I heard someone say it.

God,” I started again, and let it be known I was not in fear, I was not shaking, I was not anxious. “Whose answered prayer am I?”

There is no trepidation. You only enter with one affirmation. You only enter with perfect love and perfect trust or you do not enter us. I waited. I waited. And though the time crippled me, I still waited for the door to open and I then I rushed.

“the magician”

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