We visited a fortune teller the night before our wedding,
a traveling mystic with crystals, stones, and dried
bones to boot. She was warm, even welcoming,
offering to read tea leaves and palm lines
for us. I declined, but you and your Girdle of Venus
—solid between your middle and ring finger—
accepted for both of us. Because it was just a little Hocus Pocus
to fill the space before our vows. Until the dead-ringer
reading from her aged-at-the-edges tarot—you drew cards one
by one: Strength, The Tower, The Lovers Reversed,
and between her and you, it was silent. Your blood
ran cold from your cheeks. Did you see a ghost or a curse?
I wanted to laugh it off, go home, get married tomorrow
but you whispered “Pull a card,” voice certain with sorrow,
And I Drew Death Before I Even Said “I Do”.
Aces and Other Suits of Disappointment
When we call, there’s a fifty-fifty shot
that you won’t want to play anymore.
A solid poker face has never been my strong suit,
and you’re hardly telegraphing this hand—
bet the farm, it’s this or bust.
I’ve got a fistful of aces
and the Eight of Swords holding them up.
You think I’m hearts—diamonds maybe—
something you want and want to give,
something warm and forever.
My exes think I’m spades—
a trap, a “bury me” crisis knife
looking for a stomach to sink into.
Maybe I’m clubs—the forgotten bunch,
quiet and wallflowerish. Unremarkable.
But, mostly, the cards make me feel trapped,
like a prisoner in an eight-sword cage,
because this is a game I’ll never win—
there’s always a last call, a lost bet,
and I’m the last player at the table.
You fold—ask to see my hand.
‘four of a kind’ you say ‘Aces.’
turning the eight of swords in my hand.
As you leave the table, I whisper:
‘yes, sweetheart, and I’m the kicker.’
A. Farrier is an urban gothic and confessional writer. Their work has previously been published in Watershed Review, Litro: A Literary Journal, and Zimbellhouse Publishing’s anthology: 1929 among others. They are a senior at Arkansas Tech University where they study English, Creative Writing, and Speech Communications.