The early evening weighs black as the witching hour as we stand in rapt attention around the back end of my car, parked on the far side of the gyro joint’s crumbling lot.

“You’ve got to see this,” Sullivan tells me as he unwraps the newsprint from his latest treasure, an unremarkable dessert plate he picked up at the thrift store this afternoon.

He positions his body to create a shadow where the glow of the streetlamp falls and pulls a small device from his front pant’s pocket. With a click, the end of it blazes blue–and his treasure comes to life in a vibrant fluorescent jade.

“It’s magic!” I conclude.

“If you had a Geiger counter,” he explains, wide-eyed, “any object would read, I don’t know, 10-12 CPM, but this would be like 120!”

The driver’s door of the beaten-up white station wagon behind us snaps open a few inches.

“Son, we need to get going.” Then, the initial labored exhales of yet another horrifying coughing fit.

After replacing the paper around his treasure, Sullivan wraps one arm around my neck for a quick squeeze and begins walking briskly toward the car.

“Thanks for dinner, Mrs. Moyer!” he calls over his shoulder.

And, thanks for the magic show, I think, as he and his father, twenty years my senior, drive off to find a safe-enough place to sleep for the night.


Kelly Moyer is the author of Scarlet Apples & Cream, a collection of free verse poetry, and Om Namah, a novella named finalist in the 2016 IPPY awards. A prize-winning writer of traditional as well as experimental haiku, she has edited several anthologies and journals, including Paper Mountains with Tanya McDonald and Blossom Moon with Lee Gurga. Kelly can often be found wandering the mountains of North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and two philosopher kittens, Simone and Jean-Paul.