Lilies of the Valley

So many ways to tell a fortune. The old woman with the violet eyes has her hand in his hair, saying, “This one’s gone gray a week from Tuesday. This one is curled like your mother’s. This one isn’t yours–it belongs to the woman you meet next week. She has already marked you like a dog.”

As she reads his head, he remembers fields of flowers, white as blood, coy and cloying. He might have laid down and dreamed there if not for the caw of the albino blackbirds. They led him to the teamaker, who’d touched the whites of his eyes and read his fortune in the falling lashes. She’d mentioned a dog too.

“What kind of dog?” he’d said.

“Wrong question,” she’d said.

A man with a face of pages read his letters. Another drew his name in the ashes of a fire, and branded the soles of his feet. He’d found a black-mapped cow who drew his fortune in tongues. Ravens dropped sticks at the feet of the gypsy, the criss-crossed wood telling tales of whenever. Tarot cards got his name wrong. The ball wasn’t crystal. The last reader predicted the tomorrow of time from the pattern of moles on her skin; they shifted like constellations every time he balked.

Here, it had promised in neon: A New U. 10 Dollars. [Tips Apprec. Not Req.].

Noble gasses, even inert ones, are something one could believe in.

The old woman scissors her fingers through his strands. “What are you looking for?”

“Love,” he says. That isn’t what he meant to say at all. He meant to say life. The meaning of. Tomorrow. Hope. Kindness. Himself.

She nods as though she’s heard through him. Her face opens like a flower, pale as nothing.

“Life your chin,” she says. The t is silent as colored gas.

He does what she asks, this impossible thing.

Everything shines like the flat edge of razors through mirrors. There is blood on her hands. Even he can hold what this future divines.



Image taken with iphone
Words written on the big leather chair, with snow falling outside
Time Taken 15 minutes?
Brain on nothing and everything
on female singer-songwriters

This entry was published on January 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm and is filed under Colin James, Fiction, January, Seattle. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “[17]

  1. ginaginabobina on said:

    Ah, those neon promises. Enjoying your blog, sista!

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