“Palm readings by the pair”—
fortunes in the city!
Stale patchouli whiffs;
a spidery chandelier;
gold at her turtle throat.
Her pilling shawl was fringed
with foggy opal tears.

She gripped our hands in hers
and squinted. Black nails traced
glittering midnight bridges,
riddles tucked in gourds;
faces with flowing beards
that meant us only good.
“And here”—a knightly pledge

secured by ring and keys.
She said a brusque farewell
as we paid up: two nods.
Linking arms, we strode
back to our honking streets,
barely twenty, jaunty,
trolling like rowdy gods.

This appeared in the October 2011 issue.

Elise Partridge wrote Fielder’s Choice and Chameleon Hours.

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