Every day after school in 1959,
my classmate Martha watched
American Bandstand in her family’s den,
the tv casting the only light.
Every day, by herself, she watched,

A perfect candidate for my power.  

I had learned hypnosis from my optometrist
who wanted to help me not flinch
when the thin blue contact lens
approached my eye.  He darkened the room,
his voice droned, his thumb spiraled down  

and I could see.  

Martha sat in a straight chair
facing the class.  Standing behind her,
I explained hypnosis and its health benefits. 
She’d dressed up, white blouse, pleated skirt,
red ribbon tying her ponytail.
With a code word we’d worked out,
I put her under.  Her eyes closed,
then opened, unfocused, blank
like in a dream.  

“Here’s an apple,” I said,
handing her a peeled onion,
large, white, bitter.  

She reached out her hand, curled
her fingers around the onion,
brought it slowly to her lips.
She took a big bite, crunch echoing.
Onion juice ran down her chin. 
Mmmmmmm.  Making no move
to wipe her mouth, she took
another bite.  The class sat
spellbound.  Martha smiled.   

I woke her up.