Propped against a maple trunk,

each end a snake’s head,

the wandering boy toyed

with its possibilities:

a sword for slaying dandelions,

a wand for conjuring magic

from the air

He slept with the black stick

beneath his bed,

twirled it like a cane

Though narrow, its wood

was so hard

he could lean on it,

lay in the grass and slide it

through his fingers to alter

how he saw clouds

He trusted it to be his guide

until the day he propped it

against the trunk of a maple,

climbed through the tangle

of complex limbs

to rest in a nook shaped

like a chair where he dozed

When he woke and shimmied down,

he found it gone, its magic vanished

The spell broken and fairy tales false,

he could see it was only a stick,

crooked like the street he lived on