A Spell for Finding Lost Things

By M. Cynthia Cheung

2collage by Ana Prundaru

Theory:      the ritual depends 
on what I’d want to find:    (who was)    

my favorite niece, or what        
      to remember: the difference      between love    
& loved. To understand          (why)
foxes are red.  Up. Down.

Then again, what keeps the scree
from slipping?

Truth:        a horse’s foreshadow

forces my hand, like pinholes expanding
across the sky. I watch the universe 
fill with opposites:    stars, anti-

stars, anti-   matter—strange particles
that once belonged to someone before

someone else. Were they beautiful
before we discovered them? Before fox 

     (for)ever      belonged to hunted

Witches say it’s possible to throw 
a charm over one’s shoulder. A shot
in the dark, it could call a djinn

from the depths, the way the aneurysm 
    in my skull once rose     exquisite,
anonymous    as it silently exploded.

How do we return (from)? Where was I 
then, when I was 

(in)substantial?       O my devastation

so (un)familiar?       

M. Cynthia Cheung is a physician whose poems can be found in The Baltimore Review, Pleiades, RHINO, swamp pink, (formerly Crazyhorse), SWWIM Everyday, Tupelo Quarterly and others. She was a finalist for the 2023 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry from Tupelo Press, as well as a finalist or semi-finalist for in 2022 for the Snowbound Chapbook Award also from Tupelo Press, Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize, and Black River Chapbook Competition from Black Lawrence Press. Her work is supported by a 2023 Idyllwild Arts fellowship. She serves as a judge for Baylor College of Medicine’s annual Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards. Find out more at www.mcynthiacheung.com.

Ana Prundaru was born in Romania and presently lives in Switzerland. Alongside her legal career, she writes and illustrates for publications like Nashville Review, The Journal, New England Review and Kyoto Journal.