Kaleidoscope   —by Jinny Batterson

(As a child, I was fascinated by the dime store kaleidoscopes I sometimes got as gifts, typically with cardboard tubes and with thin pieces of tissue to make the patterns. Now even the Dollar Store versions are sturdier. They still fascinate.)

So many colors.
Turning slowly, slowly.
Suddenly a different pattern
Clicks into place.

The old one not likely
To return, ever.

Why should I fret
When there are so many
Other possibilities?

Fragile—if I push
Too quickly, the pattern
Dissolves or sticks.

Better not get it wet.
Then all patterns disappear,
Leaving just a soggy mess.

If I look through the
Wrong end,
Nothing much.

Grown-ups make elaborate
Artisan versions for sale.
Mass produced of plastic,
The child’s toy now is almost free.

Even I could learn to make one–
It’s mostly done with mirrors.
But would I recognize the instant
When the magic slips in?



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