wish i may

Annette O'Neil
2 min readMar 13, 2022


one night in thailand

we went to the river.

we struck matches

so many matches

and lit the tiny wick-hearts

of a legion of paper lanterns

sending them skywards

each one,

a wish.

the sky gamely gobbled them up.

the sky claimed each one

the sky never muttered a word in response

and yet

my wishes have all come true.

i am thinking of those lanterns now

and what it means

to make a wish

what it means to pray

what it means to do magick with one’s words.

if i tell you

you are beautiful

you are brilliant

you are the midday sun of endless potential

that i struggle not to squint against

you have teased me open and plucked my petals from their seating

you are as compelling as myth

yet as solid as muscle and mouth

and so



these are matches


these are lanterns


they slide up into your sky

and softly disappear.

some would say this is madness

that your silence

is not so sweet as i imagine

that your silence

is simply baffled,

and you watch my words sail by

as a target watches an arrow

zing madly into the backstop

that these tender little flames of observation

gutter in your palm

and that is why

you return them with the same silence

as a hot equatorial sky.

if this is madness,

i am mad.

i will strike these matches

and open my palms

and show you the soft insides of my wrists

as each word rises from my sharing

in this way

i will never have to roll up


and breathe deeply of the knowledge

that i did not tell you

in every way i can frame

the world is so much better that you’re here.