Reading Palms

There is a faded sign with large, colored bulbs
that used to work in front of the house
where Sister Rose receives callers. Palm reading,
tarot cards, astrology; she is well rounded.

I often gaze at the old house —
now on a main drag —
when I pass by, sitting in traffic,
but I am never tempted to stop,

always remembering the wide-eyed gypsy who
refused to read my palm.

I do not place much faith in the mystical arts,
a flip of the cards or the alignment of the stars
has never meant as much to me as my wife’s smile
when I compliment how she looks.

My hands are not worker’s hands, no callouses
or cuts or broken nails, but there are lines,
a lot of lines, crossing, meeting, diverging,
parallel, perpendicular and broken,

and once there was a frightened gypsy woman
who refused to read my palm.

Psychic readings strike me as nothing more than
parlor games, or shysters who prey on those
searching for what cannot be found
by anyone other than yourself.

Astrology is an amusement, Virgo only describes
a small part of me. None of it holding more portent
than when my smiles and takes my hand in hers,
gently letting me know she is there,

but there is always a memory of a gypsy woman
who refused to read my palm.

.

for dVerse

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21 Comments

Filed under Poetry

21 responses to “Reading Palms

  1. I’m guessing that some of this is true–and that love is indeed what grounds us in reality.My husband is a Virgo and it does seem to me, though, there is some truth in the stereotype and there are moments….

  2. Astrology and palm reading are more like games and fun for me ~ I don’t we can easily compartmentalize people based on mystical arts nor tarot cards ~ Your refrain of the gypsy woman who refused to read your palm makes me curious though, why or why not ~ Have a good week Mark ~

  3. I am guessing this is true too. I don’t put much stock in those palm readers either….but when someone refuses to read it, one cannot help but wonder just why. (And…smiles…I am a Virgo too.)

  4. This is such an intriguing poem! Its true that astrology and tarot cards can predict our life to some extent. Still, one can not help but wonder what mystery the lines on our palms indicate.. more so when unread 🙂

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

  5. I agree, no power in palm reading, but so curious that she would not read yours! Whether fiction or not, it’s curious

  6. Glenn Buttkus

    20 years ago when my disability descended on me, I went to dozens of psychics. The ones who gave me hope were suspect; too obvious. The two that told me they saw me dealing with this for at least 20 years angered me; too ominous. In the end the New Age healers could do nothing, & the six doctors on my medical team trust my judgement for self diagnosis. Go figure.

  7. Prometheus had the right approach: took away our ability to foresee the future, gave us fire instead.
    Fire and smiles.

  8. Smiles.. then..
    the now i learn
    to write my own
    palms.. instead
    of reading
    them.. iS
    first hand
    iN Free for me..:)

  9. Congrats on your book, Mark. Well done.
    Just got it, look forward to reading it.

  10. Enjoyed this.. that lingering wonder about the gypsy woman’s refusal!

  11. Interesting that she would not read your palm. Yet you doubt her ability and that is another interesting part of this.

  12. Some friends of mine and I went to a psychic when we were young…nothing she said to me came true but there are some characteristics of Virgo that do ring true for me too! I enjoyed the sweetness in your story and the ominous bit at the end.

  13. There is a sense of standing on a knife’s edge or close to the abyss, the refusal to read your palm comes back again… Those parlour games might be humbug but yet, what if there is truth somewhere…

  14. A “friend” of ours ‘read’ my daughter’s palm when she was about 20, and went very quiet. My daughter was frightened by this and it affected her mentally for years afterwards. Your poem rings very true.

  15. That the gypsy woman refused to read the palm, sounds so intriguing..as if it’s the beginning of a story… 🙂

  16. I’d never risk having my palm read …

  17. Like an itch you cannot scratch. I love this poem, Mark. For the record, I would never have my palm read. Even if I thought it was nonsense, I would not be able to erase it from my mind.

  18. Shawna

    So I know you’re a straight-up kind of guy who writes exactly what he means. But what I see here is the missing “wife” in this line: “than when my smiles and takes my hand in hers” … and also the repeated mention of that gypsy woman. So I can’t help but wonder if you’re trying to tell yourself that your wife means everything to you, but still, you can’t get the gypsy out of your head. I wonder if she’s secretly a love interest … or at least someone who made your thoughts wander.

    Great poem/story, regardless.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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