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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 41

Wheel of Fortune

I didn’t enter Sister Faye’s
Psychic Readings shop
like Harry Houdini,
exposing frauds and charlatans,
but I didn’t expect to contact
spirits of the dead, either.

Curiosity and a dare made me do it:
my friend Holly challenged me
when I sent her a cellphone photo,
the storefront with the neon outline
of a cross-legged, turbaned swami,
the words “”Tarot Readings” and “Fortunes”
blinking on and off,
the “t” in “Fortunes” dead
as a cigarette ash.

Incense smothered like a chloroform-soaked hankie,
but I took a seat on the low stool,
gazing hopefully across the candles
guttering on the glass-topped table.

“Your mother misses you,” Sister Faye soothed.
Not a far-fetched guess about my mom,
me a guy in his mid-sixties.
Besides, nobody said she was dead.

But I remembered the last time
I saw my mother, in hospice,
after the multiple organ failure,
several years ago now.
She lay doped-up in a hospital bed,
mostly unconscious, incoherent when awake,
No final moment of recognition.

“Tell her I miss her, too.”

Charles Rammelkamp