I had three wishes
& I did not ask
for beauty so beauty was not
what I was given

I’d asked for a sharper tongue
a calmer disposition
larger hair   I was given

those in some fashion &
separately I was pleased with
the things when they came in
their bow-tied packages

but together they grew on my body
a birthmark, a brutal red leaf
just below the first layer of skin
behind my knee

again I was given three wishes
I only had need of one
& asked for the birthmark
to be taken away

in my mailbox arrived a gold-laced
envelope: in it ancient eggshell stationery
tutting in cramped handwriting we can
only add, nothing may ever be taken away

so I wished for beauty finally
to have its way with me
and beauty I was given because

I had the strength to ask
was given its bipolar its nightly
pulling of teeth

and the eventual sprouting
of the birthmark into
a forest from the back of my knee