Poetry

Gypsum

A Romanian with teeth
like buttered stalactites and stalagmites
tells me I’m addicted to fantasy.
Nine of cups reversed.
Her broomstick body is folded
and wobbling on Jackson square’s cobblestone
as she faces me and her card table
lined with a crystal ball, a rosy balm,
and a spread of tarot cards.
Four of my five cards show
overturned golden chalices, no water.
So many cup cards.
Aw, you must be emotionally spent.
The Mississippi blows her icy breath
and we watch the cards shiver,
use rocks and gems to steady them.
Our hands hovering over the table,
and I’m ten again and my fingers rest on a planchette,
kneeled down in our guest room and I ask the board,
Does he love me?
Will I be successful?
When will I get married?
She starts to blossom my right palm
and see something I cannot.
Beyond my landlines and winter dryness
and the horizontal slice of a scar–
the past never failing to interrupt the future–
she sees great ambition,
much creative energy.
You are hard, but gentle.
Don’t worry, you will find someone next year.
I’m a single mother of three, she tells me
in a new husky velvet.
Aged three cups, four swords, and six wands
and I imagine they’re reversed too.
Been here sixteen years, she continues,
It’s been difficult, but good.
I place some money in her palm
and see her handing me a crystal
that looks like a two-inch pillar of salt.
You’ll need this, she says.
Go to the river, she says.
I go, kneel down to the foreign levee,
and press rock to rock to kiss to draw her face.

 

Published by Oatmeal Magazine
How I Choose to Remember the Moon

Yellow,
slumping in a black shirt decorated with dandruff;

Round,
mouthing the word “mop” like a muppet;

and Light,
loving the witchiness before the witch.

 

There Are Ghosts

I.
The women should run out
of their things more often than they do.
Wear scarcity pretty like an old shawl
coming undone.

II.
The women iron their hair
electric straight and bake cakes
out of sandcastles and rusted crab bodies,
but they should do this less.

III.
The women are slowly realizing
that they are rotting (because of the gnats).
Those winged ghosts clucking about
the house, making habits of leftovers
and following the women room to room.

IV.
The women remove the fruit carcasses
and the opened food products,
but the gnats keep coming.

The women remove their shoes
and their perfumes,
but they keep coming.

Finally, they are naked.
Their hair long and overgrown, a blanket,
but now they are ghosts.