E.B. Schnepp Harbinger;Augary;Oracle;Omen

Tires pressed toads into the asphalt until they stuck there,

dried like a flower between the pages of an over-loved book,

it was on this toad-rind road I found the sybil-lady

for the first time. She was the start of a belated teenage rebellion;

taught me to wear short skirts, to swear. To scare off chapel-boy

with the true color of my teeth, yellow stained over blood

red from lipstick I shouldn’t wear. Seven months later


I’d find her again, feed her my son’s placenta, raw—

over this fleshy-feast, she’d tell me he will be tall

and brown for twenty-seven. She’d tell me he’ll only ever be

twenty-seven, and I’d learn how I could grow to spend a life

fighting fortunes I’d fed the flesh-of-my-flesh to uncover.

I will find her a third time, all misfortunes come in threes.

Christopher will be twenty-seven and I will be out of time.

I will be practicing pond-water stagnation; letting mosquitoes

blossom, their egg-surface thick enough to be mistaken

for lily pads, though half as green


and with twice as many teeth. I will be losing my teeth.

I will be painting my lipstick outside the lines of my lips.

I will have long outgrown my mini skirts. I may grow

to think fondly of the chapel-boy. I will be holding my breath

to mimic a boy born into a skin that will be tall and brown

for twenty-seven, a skin that will only ever be twenty-seven.

I will find a road with flower-pressed-toads and along its bend,

if walked on bare feet, if in August, I will find the sybil-lady.

I will offer the flesh-of-my-flesh for a fortune.


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