The Reading

From Verse of Small Sanctuary. I wrote this while I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania; it boasted a small but beautiful main street with great restaurants, a theater, et cetera– also was a psychic’s shop, which (though the lights were on) were perpetually closed. In a time of deep depression and, indeed, desperation I knocked tentatively on the door hoping to find… something. Answers? Generic platitudes based on cold reading? I don’t think it mattered too much to me at that point, as I was not in a good place, but damn if I didn’t feel a bit of relief when the brightly lit shop was, despite all outward appearances, locked down and closed. When I arrived home, I wrote this poem.

How about you? If one could see the future, would you want to know? 


The Reading
My town seems cold-eternal
And I walk a quiet stride
The main drag is softly glowing
Calls me, persistent, down the line

No other shops are open now
The street is sullen, empty
The snow, it starts its listless fall
Of shadows, there are plenty

I meet with the crone, an “Oracle”
I am staring at my hands
I count and see each word and breath
I nod, I understand

That she would pull my fortune
From the stars up in the sky
From lines drawn on my palms
From some distant, Aether cries

I am standing in the smokey shop
Breathing sage and incense breaths
She cut her arcane picture cards
And laid them down to telling rest

She leered and smiled eerily
No detail she did save
And with a poisoned whisper
Told me exactly when I’d meet my grave

Yes the hour, day, and minute down
When I shall meet my Maker mine
And fall to dust in deepest sleep
Mortal eyes closed for all time

I fell back with a start, a cry,
“This I did not seek to know!
“I am counting down the seconds now
“Until it’s time that I should go!”

So tell me, those who read this
If you knew your place and time
What would you do with your last hours?
O, seek to do with thine?

Would you try to save the world?
(Or render aid to those in need?)
Or would you lay down quietly,
On a lonely city street?

I arose and left that cursed place
As the Crone did Cackle-laugh
And started home (not knowing why)
As my breath it soon would pass.

And so I say to everyone
Who reads this sullen prose
Be careful what it is you seek
It’s often better not to know.


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