Issue No. 14, Autumn 2015

Reading the Cards
Jennifer Lynn Krohn

I met the glares of kings and queens
as I spread my new deck across the table.
A woman asked for her fortune.

I read each card’s meaning
straight from the instructions,
until I placed down the last

—Death.

He always shows his face
to the gullible, those who learned of fate
from a dollar matinee. I explained

—pointing to the page—this card
only signifies change. Still the liar, Death
leaves scratches the length of limousines.

Poor thing—having a cup of coffee—
she asks a stranger
and some paper squares what to do.

Worried about bills, work, the tip,
a missing shoe—stuck in the monotony
of a husband and children. After a while

she hoped for a snag—
a lover tangling straight lines—
she wanted to be in knots.

But Death danced in front of her
on the heads of knights, emperors, popes,
car mechanics. Death

always strips us down.
She stared into her cup, a heart full
of holes wanting to be darned.

She wanted to be told that if she let
the heat build, she’d erupt like Vesuvius
devouring cities, toppling towers.

She wanted to find that she wasn’t bound
and blind, that she was more
than a smudge of chalk someone brushes off.


Jennifer Lynn Krohn was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she currently lives with her husband. She earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and she currently teaches English at Central New Mexico Community College and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Jennifer is the poetry editor for Fickle Muses and a member of the Dirt City writers collective. She has published work in Río Grande Review, Prick of the Spindle, In the Garden of the Crow, Versus Literary Journal, and Gingerbread Literary Magazine.