I met Poetry at the county fair today.

I had just ravaged my corn dog

and the bathroom line was long

so my stroll became an amble

and my amble became a drift

until I loitered in front

of the fortune teller’s tent.


Griselda the sign read:

Interpreter of Dreams

and Voice of the Stars.

Would she have time for me,

an uncomplicated mortal,

mouthpiece of the dim streetlight,

linguist of the lost?


With a faint halloooo

and a crunch of dry mulch

I lifted the coarse flap

of her purple and scarlet tabernacle,

trading the glitter of the carousel lights

for the murk of some

ancient sea beast’s belly.


It smelled like dry leather

and blood and perhaps

- I’ll need to confirm this –

the moon’s dusty surface,

all mixed together

and sent up my nose

by the settling tent canvas.


I made my way to the table before me

and squatted on a spongy chair.

Opposite me like a shadow-denizen,

she stooped with bowed head.

If there was a greeting,

I missed it over the tinny anthem

of the funhouse just outside.


Do you need the money

up front for this? I asked,

Or is this one of those

pay-what-you-want things

 or do you do this for free?

I don’t mean to sound trite,

but I’m new to this stuff.


And she, the lady in deep purple,

- who must have been Griselda,

for who else but Griselda

would have beaded and bangled her

wrists with such ecstasy,

or settled her pine green eyes

behind orange-peel glasses,


and who but Griselda would have

ringed her fingers with bone,

tamed her hair with cicada shells,

tasseled her robes with seaweed,

and circled her neck with crow feathers? -

Griselda, smelling only of cigarettes,

the violet visionary, spoke:


I’m on break, my love,

but come back in five.