Last Act of Service

I hear it from the familiars’ network
Your dragon to Elsa’s wolf to my cat
You’re gone and I have very little time
To make your place presentable

I was your apprentice
I owe you this
They will remember the magician
Not the hoarder

I use the teleport spell you taught me
Manifest in the yard because who knows
If there’s even room in the house
And take a deep breath before entering

The other magicians
Will be here soon
To pay their last respects
As is proper

I open the door and it’s worse than last time
Things piled on the floor, things stacked in shelves
At least you threw your food out
The place doesn’t smell bad

I find you on the floor in your bedroom
Your dragon heard you stand and then fall
I hope you felt no pain
I hope you didn’t wait for death

We get busy, your dragon and I
Me with magic, levitating things out
Him with fire, burning up the evidence
Showing you were incapable of throwing anything out

Half of your bed is covered with books and
Pamphlets, unopened missives
Sacks of herbs overflow the kitchen table
I’ll hang them once I make room

It takes all night to clear out, to clean up
To put things away, to settle you back in bed
Regalements placed over you, your wand
In your crossed hands

The dragon leans against me
And I turn to him and cry
His wings cradle me as I finally mourn
Now that your secret shame is gone

He left me to you, the Dragon whispers
And I stroke his face and tell him to be nice
To my cat, and then he bellows
This time through the mage network

The magical cohort will come, will pay respects
I will sit in the corner, exhausted
I was your last apprentice and only daughter
My service to you is over, my loss will never be

—Gerri Leen