so many beautiful girls
with their carefully combed honey hair,
neat makeup: kohl to bring their eyes out,
rouge to spread a healthy pinkness on the cheeks,
cherry red, juicy lips to sparkle desire,
with fitting, chic clothes,
and violet eyes that twinkle with adventurous energy.
But you, you colorless, introverted little nezumi-chan,
dull brown hair resembling the fur of a country mouse,
ordinary, brown eyes, pale face, knows
not how to dance or spin with loud laughter,
no, a wizard wouldn’t look at you twice
let alone eat your fluttering heart.
What a relief it must be
to fall under the spell of a majo,
to finally not care about your looks, your future,
whether a man, any man, can find it in his heart
to love you.
Everything you were afraid of happening
is already in the past.
Your looks finally match up with your soul’s brittleness,
your clothes suit you better,
your heart is more open to accept
the unfair hand that was dealt to you.
Things were also out of your reach, mind you,
before you’ve gotten old, but at least,
now, you have an excuse.
Now that you didn’t get to live,
you can leave where you call home,
and go someplace else
to live out the rest of your days,
with false but fond memories of an invented,
late husband who once loved you
as much as you loved him,
and maybe an undutiful son who never visits but
sends imaginary letters from a different country.
But only when you think you have nothing to lose
the touch of wildness you’ve seen in the violet
eyes of the beautiful girls
burns inside you strong,
you run, you fall, you skin your knees,
you catch up, you hold on tight, you jump, you break in,
you declare yourself the maid
of an unwitting wizard.
Why couldn’t it happen before?
Your life had to be wasted
before you could be brave enough to
inhale the fresh air, appreciate the view,
speak true, and grab whatever you desired.
Magic draws magic,
even at 90, a heart wants what it wants.
Old girls can fall in love with young men,
’cause you can’t settle, no matter what,
for someone less than magical.
Just like a wizard can move the bombs of an air raid,
and a fire demon moves the cogwheels of an absurd,
love can move the aching muscles, stiff joints,
worn-out organs, tired limbs,
ancient hearts, young teeth, old bones.
You walk forward, spine straight,
eyes front, every step full of possibilities;
you walk, and your youth runs to catch up.
Ecem Yucel (she/her) is an Ottawa-based Turkish writer and poet. She holds an MA in World Literatures and Cultures from the University of Ottawa. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Evergreen Review, Salamander Magazine, HAD, Overheard, Stanchion, Autofocus, The Daily Drunk, Idle Ink, Kissing Dynamite, Selcouth Station, and more. Find her at www.ecemyucel.com or on Twitter @TheEcemYucel.