Superstitious Hyperrealist

I was the sort of girl

who thought everything was a sign

A train delay meant I should take off for somewhere else — Philly or New York Pittsburgh or Cincinnati

A wallet dropped next to a toilet meant that I’d always be broke (but any fool can pay the bills)

A laptop that crashed and deleted everything, twice meant it wasn’t time to tell that particular story

The fires that followed me through St. Louis and back to Chicago: abandoned tenements, cop cars, trash cans set smoldering meant I should burn my bridges and grin broadly

The shoe that fell from my foot and down the stairs as I stumbled home from the taqueria, drunk and stoned, meant that I was obviously no Cinderella There was no prince there to pick it up

The old man playing accordion below my bedroom window The herd of cranes roosting in the eerie dawn near Archer Avenue could mean anything

I consulted the tarot cards three times a day They gave me the same answers over and over, but I kept asking “Travel,” they whispered, “and temptation.” “Signs and signals.” And always, the three of swords. “Heartache, sorrow.” Cupid, have mercy, on

a superstitious hyperrealist such as me

I was the sort of girl who stuffed my pockets full of good luck charms, odds and ends which looked like junk to other people

Lighters with no fluid left in them crumpled ticket stubs New Jersey quarters caps pried from bottles of Yuengling, Red Stripe, Pabst Blue Ribbon

I was the sort of girl who made wishes on burnt matches train whistles green shoes the gray-white clouds made by smokestacks the floating fuzz of the cottonwood trees in June

The charms didn’t bring me much good luck and when my wishes came true I realized I should’ve been more careful what I wished for

And now I wish — I wish that I still wished I wish that I could still change things with the sheer force of my belief

I don’t consult the tarot cards so much these days, because I don’t want to hear what they have to say

Cupid doesn’t visit me anymore

I don’t see signs everywhere My life is easier, and less shiny

Now, the junk just looks like junk

But my beer bottle cap just told me: “Be your own orchestra”

I’m only one person, no longer a girl, but I’ll stick that bottle cap in my pocket and try to believe I can be my own punk orchestra who, in lieu of bridges and cop cars, can set her words on fire and watch the flames while grinning broadly

with way too many teeth

#writing #poetry #indielit #rustbeltjessie #signs #charms #witchery #belief

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