Palmistry:  New Orleans, 1998

"No more 'I love you's'
The language is leaving me
No more 'I love you's'
The language is leaving me in silence
No more I love you's
Changes are shifting outside the word"
                                               -A. Lenox

Had you asked on the trolley
to the Garden District, as I listened
to that Wiccan girl’s voodoo
humming beside us, I
would have nodded yes.
Yes, I love you.

I might have said meet me
at the Lafayette #1 ‘round midnight
for some black magic loving, a necromancy
to fading love, we’ll shake it
like those live shows down in the Quarter.

Damn this young witch, beside us
dressed in black, adorned with pentagram
reading her Book of Shadows, whispering
her strange spells & philters while we roam
this antiquated sprawl, reeking
of piss & booze & jambalaya.

Perhaps she knows we’re merely ghosts
divining patterns in powdered sugar of Beignet
at Café Du Monde muttering incantations
among the pigeons by the Mississippi, drifting
like the river dreaming
of past lives.  Maybe she knows

You crave the decadent man
you fell in love with. Maybe
she knows I just want to belong
somewhere, Anywhere, but we are lost
lost in this city, looking
for a voodoo high priestess
down by Jackson Square
to decipher the lines
of our lives on palms, wanting
more than ritual and offering

She notes the fan-shaped hand,
horizontal ridges, pointed fingers
my instability, my nervousness
the curved heart line that grows steep
The via lascivia, horizontal
across the mount of Luna. She knows
the crowd knows, this city knows

She notes the circles
On the Mount of Venus
The fork at the end of the worry line
The lines shout
my need, my wanting I’m unable to speak

Her eyes question me, look to you
I’m dreaming of a balmy night
A walk down by the river
The heavy scent of lantana
on the breeze across the water carrying
the heat from your fire inside me holding
your strong earth hands square
palms and short fingers lines that arch
hoping to find a way to say, “I’m sorry”
I’m hoping she’ll tell us
these ghosts aren’t real, hoping she’ll tell us
it’s not over.
                             -Kenny Harmon