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Behind coded invitations,

long night journeys,

country house gatherings

of like-minded men—

behind the fear of women,

banishment of servants,

locked doors, shuttered windows,

guards to ward off spies—

behind cloaks, hoods,

symbols scrawled on vellum,

books of lore and learning,

circles of protection—

behind scrying-glass,

crystal, speculum,

the lighting of a candle

and the speaking of a name—

you never know.

That is the truth of every incantation.

You never know

what will come to the flame.

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Tim Jones lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His first collection of fiction, Extreme Weather Events, was published in 2001, and poetry collection Boat People followed in 2002. With Mark Pirie, he is currently editing an anthology of New Zealand science fiction poetry. For more about him and his work, see his website.