I PAID A FORTUNE TELLER IN WEATHER
to tell me what my last words will be. I paid her in sunshower and she said bewilder me, which, according to my mother, were also my first words. You have no way of knowing. Consider me bewildered by the way rain draws a line around itself. I stood on a mountain road and jumped. Back and forth, in and out, between rain and no rain. I used the rainline as a jump-rope and it shimmied rainbow. No rain is new and no rain is old. My jade plant told me that, just now. I call her my jade plant, but we have no way of knowing who belongs to who. My jade saves raindrops in her wallet like receipts. In her fleshy leaves there’s a hurricane. On my porch there’s a maelstrom. On my porch there’s a fortune teller decked in jade green. On my porch there’s a pepper plant hanging dead fruit. How do you know when to die on purpose? We all chit-chat. We are all so smart. It comforts me to think of my eventual rotting body. The process is so slow that time forgets me. Eventually, I push myself up out of the dirt. Now I’m a peony in my grandmother’s garden. We both laugh as she rips me from the ground, chucks my fat head at the sky. Look! Now I’m a pink meteor.
MY GUMS BLEED SUNSET
into the bathroom sink. I can’t afford the dentist, but while the weather is still free, I use my rollerblades as an excuse to smile. Look at these gorgeous gums! I say to a stranger who watches the milk-pink sky. Time loops around us like cursive. Since the day I turned eight, I’ve been trying to become eight again. I knock on my neighbor’s door. He asks me how I’m doing, and I say I’m an expanding universe. He says I’m glad to hear it, have a nice weekend! Sometimes, even my rollerblades can’t take me. I sit on a bench long enough to see the stars go marching. I sit long enough to be seen from space. I sit so long I move backwards through time, back to the moment before this poem began. The moment before we became dollar bills, insurance policies, bad investments. It was nice there. The sunset was still free to look at.
Mara Beneway is a writer, visual artist, and teacher from New York. Her poems and poetry comics have appeared in Foglifter, Bodega Magazine, Hobart, Vagabond City, Bread Loaf Journal, and elsewhere. Her collection of linked flash fiction, GRANDMA JUNE, won the Flume Press 2021 Chapbook competition. She is currently a graduate student studying Creative Writing at the University of South Florida and English Literature at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English.
image: MM Kaufman