amywink March 5th, 2017

for Stacey, who taught me to read the cards.

She placed the cards
slowly in the pattern
her grandmother had
showed her so to do–
her grandmother who
had also read the cards
on the Halloween day of her birth,
who had read her life
of seeking laid out ahead.

Queen of Swords, she chose for me,
and read each symbolic face
in the light of my anxious query
about my destination,
“Will I ever have . . . .”
as if I wanted to read
the last page of a book
to know it was worth reading.

“You are poor!” she read,
my clutching soul
fretting in the corner.
“Thank God we have the cards!”
we laughed together but
I did not yet comprehend
my poverty of spirit,
like the surface reading so easily
belies the depth,
like clear, still water
deceives those standing at its edge.

“After a long period of waiting. . . ” she read
and I grasped for more,
How long? When? When?
But the cards were already in play
and my question had been asked
before they turned to offer an answer.

“You will return triumphant,” she read
The Prince of Swords,
riding back from the wars
And so my answer was not an answer,
a yes but not a yes
a irksome prophecy, like all prophecy,
set in motion only by the asking,
offering answer of some clarity
but no precision, easily misread,
always more complex,
a succinct and final ending
beneath clear water
yet miles from the surface,
and no map of how to reach it.

Later we would often joke
“is it over now?”
and the answer always
not yet, not yet, not yet.

But ‘When’ was not the answer
to a question asked of “ever.”
Nor “How” I would to get to yes.
Just the understanding that
somewhen, somehow,
triumph was always
in the cards.

Twenty years later,
we understood I helped her
find the kindness she
finally knew in others,
one answer in her life spent seeking.

Twenty years later,
some of my answers
remain “not yet”
even as I continue to return,
triumphant from so many of my wars.

2 Responses to “Tarot”

  1. Molly A Whiteon 05 Mar 2017 at 11:05 am

    This is brilliant. I can’t wait for your next one.

  2. amywinkon 05 Mar 2017 at 11:50 am

    Thanks, Molly. I’ll let you know when the next one arrives. :)

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