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SCRYING

In Jerusalem they cast the future in coffee
                     cups, swish the dark liquid, overturn quick
so oily grit runs down in blobs they scry
                    as bears or snakes -- the symbol-spoor of destiny.
People believe that random patterns are keys
                     to unlock time, haggle fate
with stars or chicken bones. They spit twice,
                     unbolt the door to fear's hundred scheming cousins.
I prefer to peruse the present over tea, slowly noting
                    rhymes of form, how a wave echoes a wing
and a red ribbon resembles a scar.
                    Poets stare until a leaf becomes a fish
in a musical sea. The fish looks at you and says,
                   Look through my tail's false eye
and scry every possibility, even free will.
                   In summer's twilight, mug in hand, maundering
the moment, I listen as a bird creaks through the coffee dark.
                   My husband pastes vacation photos in a book
we won't look backward at. Imagination's telescope
                   focuses on tea drinkers in Japan who let the leaves
drift before inhaling wisps of bronzy grass.
                   The sip remains a mountain on the horizon.

  Rachel Dacus


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