Today's poem is by Rachel Hadas

The Fortune-Teller

When I impulsively had my fortune told,
I was too cheap to spring
for a crystal ball or lines across my hand.
Cards did the trick. Who knew
why this woman drifting up Broadway
had happened to catch the fortune-teller's eye?

The gypsy might have understood; not I.
Too few, too many secrets to be told.
Trees in leaf along Broadway
dappled and canopied the street with spring
reflections green inside her crystal: new
data inserted by an invisible hand.

Particles swirl and clear: time lends a hand,
and seasons, sleep, the weather of the eye.
"You love someone:' the gypsy said. She knew
the arrow: was she waiting to be told
the target? As mercurial as spring,
a muffled weight, an ache that floats away

leaving in its wake a veil Broadway
gleams through: two young lovers hand
in hand glisten like the crystal globe of spring
too brilliant this May evening for me
to gaze into. Do I need to be told
news of desire? How could I not know

the future I broke stride to peer at? No—
I didn't, though. In her own sphinxlike way
the gypsy saw I wanted to be told
not whom one day I might take by the hand
or look intoxicated in the eye
or stroll with down the green arcade of spring,

but something else. "You love?" No answer sprang
to my lips. It was getting late, I knew.
Glanced at my watch; then her (in her dark eyes
swirled possibilities but no one way)
and put five dollars in her outstretched hand
and went away without having been told

a future I had not sought to be told,
cupping the green spring evening in my hand,
cherishing, trying to say yes, not no.

Copyright © 2013 Rachel Hadas All rights reserved
from The Golden Road
Triquarterly Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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