The Fortune Teller - Aleksandra Pandyra

Every day the drunk lies at the cross-road

Between the Wal-Mart and the Costco

On the side of the Arizona road

The sun is a cupped red-hot centre of an egg

Heat seals dust on his sweaty skin


Stray dogs lick his wounds

Their tongues encrusted with decay

A cherry coke rests on one side

And a glass bottle of Jim Beam on the other

If he drinks from both it will be a good day


His glass eye lies in the cavernous socket

Dotted with clots of red, a secure plum in its cave

Stares without judgement or acknowledgement

But if you look close enough it’s a marble

With a magnified world inside the jagged streak


Gifts lie scattered at his feet,

Silvery gum wrappers and pissed-on ads

The occasional pamphlet from religious nut-jobs

The end of the world might be near

But the drunk knows better: it’s already here


If the whiskey points to the right you go to Costco

Lots of samples today in white little cups

If to the left then head to the Walmart

Because they’re giving away pigs in a blanket

And if he’s not there at all maybe he’s home

Aleksandra Pandyra was born in Poland and has lived in Italy and Canada for a large portion of her life. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and currently lives in Germany, working at the University of Düsseldorf.

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