As I walk through a bazaar on a beach
where vendors sell fruits, dried fish, fragrant oils,
calabashes, hemp dresses, natural juices,
a woman walks out of the waves:
"I must read your palms, O woman of magic."
She pulls me down into the sand,
sits behind me, my back against her chest.
She puts my palms like cups into the cups
of her palms. We sway like sea-grape branches.
Vendors gather like apostles around us.
Lightning rises out of my palms
hits the water and the waves spit fire.
"You are too passionate," she whispers.
"You will kill things along the way."
I wake to the sound of the city's sirens
and my curtains dancing like wind parting
in the wake of a woman's leaving.
from The Merchant of Feathers
Peepal Tree Press