- Mary's Guide to Divination and Fortune-Telling
[YOU WILL MAKE HEADS TURN]
Perplexing that you walk at allwithout seeing the cavernous mouthsof the people who feel themselvespass by, if not through, you.
[LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO HOLD GRUDGES]
I ran away from home when I was six years old, angryat my mother. I packed my baby doll and saltines to avoidhunger. When baby began to cry, I went home. If God had leta bitter child die, what kind of God would this be?
[ONE IS NOT SLEEPING, DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE AWAKE]
You have stopped sleeping because there is too much else—you fold laundry and watch zombie movies on TV and I stay upwith you because I'm afraid you are asleep behind your eyesand in a dream-like state you'll rememberyou are human, turn on the stove, burn yourself.
[WHEN THE MOMENT COMES, TAKE THE TOP ONE]
In the middle of the night, a camp counselor woke meto ask if the boy who wet his bed could share my bunk.In the morning, I saw his drooling face there, rememberedwhat mom once said about sleeping with boys.When she picked me up from camp, I cried the whole way home.
[BIRDS ARE ENTANGLED BY THEIR FEET AND MEN BY THEIR TONGUES]
I cracked open a cookie that looked likea vagina or a bird's beak, ate onehalf of it, postponed the lectureI had come to give you. [End Page 44]
[YOU WILL KISS YOUR CRUSH OHHH LALAHH]
Standing sideways before my bedroom mirrorI sucked in my stomach and became a sheetof paper. I thought about kissing on the mouth,forced my lips into some shape a boy might find suitable.
[YOU CREATE ENTHUSIASM AROUND YOU]
Your face might be made of plaster. You might bea floppy little doll, a doll that bends in halfat the waist. This is my interpretationof what the people whisper as they look away.
[SOON, A VISITOR SHALL DELIGHT YOU]
I convinced myself I was pregnant and told no one.I asked myself several questions, notably, ifI had had sex. I thought I was a virgin but my stomachgrowled and ached in unordinary ways such thatI knew there was someone else inside me.
[LET THE DEEDS SPEAK]
If a child is anything other than parasiteI would ask my mother to speak now. As the un-intended consequence of a deed, product of a uterus, I feelI must not use my mouth for anything other than apologies.
[OLD FRIENDS MAKE BEST FRIENDS]
When your body is forced to invent creative waysof feeding itself, it ages. Only months sinceI last saw you, but you have aged years. A fetus,too, grows wrinkled in a matter of only months. [End Page 45]
[OUT OF CONFUSION COMES NEW PATTERNS]
Standing sideways before my bedroom mirror Isucked in my stomach and wondered whether the raisedknoll had been conceived through my imagination,God, man, or eating for two: myself, and you.
[WHEN HUNGRY, ORDER MORE FOOD]
The beauty of a fork is its willingnessto bend and not break. No matter howmany times I allow food to pass through me I worryit will get stuck along the way, take hold, growinto something God herself could not digest. [End Page 46]
Hannah Dow is the author of Rosarium (Acre Books, 2018). Her poems have recently appeared in The Cincinnati Review, North American Review, and Ninth Letter. She reads poetry for Ploughshares and Memorious.