when tea leaves are not enough

It was the kind of day
to visit a fortune teller.

Your faint smile remains a mystery,
because you preserve yourself
more than anything.
You prophesy at will and turn wheels.
That is what you do best.
Candle wax dare not scald you.
Strings are woven long.

The day I cut my hair was a cool summer,
two weeks before my birthday.
I left town never to come back.
Your daughters laughed so hard
at the money you threw their way they
probably had spit coming out of their eyes.
That was what they wanted.
It was simple, clean.

The child is young,
he won’t know the difference,
convinced yourself thus,
but young ‘uns do. They know more
than you ever let on, and they remember,
not the glaring presents or permission to speak moments,
it’s the little things, the lilt in your voice
the brush aside look, the pursed lips,
the endless drone of the television
and ipad volume turned up max.

Allow me to demonstrate.
The sky before and after a thunderstorm is the same shade,
but the land changes,
and the air that breathes in it.
The slight rustle in the trees could mean anything.

Indian spirits once danced around the flames
summoning blessings and visions
that may never come.
Yet, in my dreams were two apples —
green and red, both eaten by worms.
They grew voracious in my hands.

I bathe in heated waters and scrub
lavender and chamomile.
The stew left in the pressure cooker was soft and fell apart,
little droplets of oil cling to me,
I am scented thus.

On a footbridge, I see
the once pristine ground muddied and stars
replaced by fireworks.
Couples hold hands
and smile for any reason.
Taxis come and go, foraging
the next big opportunity.

My flipflops are fine
but my feet are freezing.
I can order coffee
with what I have left
but don’t.


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