The Keepsake Carriage

I stared, a long time, at the shelves
at every figurine, every memento, every diary
every book I ever read, every line I ever wrote
every moment of my life, short though it is.
It took a long time, almost till one in the morning
to settle on the glass dolphins.
The spell was old.
Name your destination.
Prepare your payment: a keepsake, a toy, something.
Some link to a time and place.
Knock seven times on the inside of your front door.
Open it.

I stared a long time at the coachman with his dappled greys
he took the glass from my hand, and I forgot it had ever existed.
Just like that. Like a lightbulb bursting.
Time to replace.
He let me into his carriage and he took me far away.
I do not remember where it was. It was an old spell.
But I could smell the sea, the scent of salt and an old dock,
I could sense the cold autumn sky, gray and looming above a beach,
I could feel the singular ray of sunshine that had penetrated that storm.
I struggled with the memory.
Like standing in an abandoned ruin, suddenly afraid of ghosts.
Like blinking in the dark, after a flash from a camera.
Like trying to see the shapes moving in the fog.

The coachman came then. “It is time.”
And I was back, the front door shutting.
It was an old spell.
But when I went to my bed, confused, and somehow, fearful,
I could smell the sea.

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