My poem "Tarot Cards" from my collection Muse was chosen by Lupita Amaya to paint, and was performed by Bob Steele.
I stare at the cards: pointed arrows piercing flesh,
a woman hung upside down in a noose, knot drawn tight.
There is talk of a family curse passed down from my mother.
I have inherited a tragic fate, must walk a dark wooded terrain.
But not all is lost. I can be saved for fifty dollars more.
Her gypsy face obscured by a beaded curtain,
shining crystal balls dangling like so many planets.
Still dressed in a robe, although two in the afternoon, she asks
if I mind that she smokes. I do, but say nothing.
Jesus presides over the reading, his arms outstretched.
She pats the head of her ceramic god like a good luck charm,
reaches for me from behind cascading beads,
gruffly takes my hand, tells me to pray. This modern-day gypsy
asks me to trust her, to cut the cards and imagine a future
she has spun. Painted nails click as our planet orbits
the universe, indifferent to Pisces’ constellations. A tiny star
among other points, too vast for us to comprehend.
We bend our necks in prayer,
invent worlds and stories to sustain us.
We look at a beaded curtain and are asked to see
the universe suspended on a shimmering string of light.