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Behind coded invitations,

long night journeys,

country house gatherings

of like-minded men—

behind the fear of women,

banishment of servants,

locked doors, shuttered windows,

guards to ward off spies—

behind cloaks, hoods,

symbols scrawled on vellum,

books of lore and learning,

circles of protection—

behind scrying-glass,

crystal, speculum,

the lighting of a candle

and the speaking of a name—

you never know.

That is the truth of every incantation.

You never know

what will come to the flame.




Tim Jones lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His first collection of fiction, Extreme Weather Events, was published in 2001, and poetry collection Boat People followed in 2002. With Mark Pirie, he is currently editing an anthology of New Zealand science fiction poetry. For more about him and his work, see his website.
Current Issue
10 Jan 2022

Angela says if I want to film the rituals, I cannot do so as an outsider or a guest. The rituals are private, she says, and a secret. That is the problem, I say, I want to film them because they are a secret.
Before she knew it, she was falling out of the sky like a waterfall and through a canopy of thick, wet leaves. Fell hard into the soil.
There is a djinn for everything: every act of forgetting, every act of remembering. Every act of oppression, every act of protest. Every act of civil resistance, every arrest, every injury, every death. There is a selfish djinn, and a selfless djinn. There is a djinn for beauty, a djinn for zakhm, a djinn for kindness, a djinn for empathy. A djinn for absence, a djinn for inaction; a djinn for climate, a djinn for crisis, a djinn for war, a djinn for peace. What are words but
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