The End of Team Fortune Telling

She was feeling zodiacal, but I was having none
of it, carving runes in the dirt and telling
time by trees. She had a palmful of constellations—

a harp strung with lines from flesh to stars—but I
was earth song, a smooth stone under a well
worn tongue. Our eyes met. We gargled omens.

I spat at the base of my stick and declared a stranger
would enter our lives. She kissed at the moon,
whispered the night would steal the color

from our skins and we would walk unnoticed, even
by ourselves. Anyway, I touched her cheek once
before the sudden rain, before she shrieked

and ran, before I built my home between drops, every
newborn pool too rippled to scry through, every hoarse
cry drowned out by what the sky said to the ground.


Cover of TLR's "Big Blue Whale" issueJohn A. Nieves’ poems appear in journals such as Southern Review, Cincinnati Review, Crazyhorse, and Pleiades. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Prize. His first book, Curio, came out in 2014. He is an assistant professor of English at Salisbury University.

“The End of Team Fortune Telling” first appeared in Big Blue Whale (TLR, Summer 2016)