13 by Jane Zwart


A contractor does not build a tall hotel,
then Jenga from the stack of floors
the layer after twelve. This fact shocks no one.
Yet superstitious travelers blithely rest
their heads in fourteenth-story suites. Little
is more literal than the magical thinker’s mind.
Or more exacting: my great-aunt refused
the extra bun in the baker’s generous dozen.
I have brought back your Iscariot roll, she told
the kid behind the till—and that woman loved
both bread and thrift. Some of the credulous
are like that, though; raised on wrath, they think
that the only luck must be lightning.


Jane Zwart’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, and TriQuarterly, as well as other journals and magazines.

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