Oct/Nov 2004 Poetry Special Feature

The Palm Reader

by Carol Fant

The Palm Reader

In my study, back flat against the alligator
bench, I stare at the fan's nickel moon.
My body splays out above me, surreal
and stretched, a site in a carnival
fun house. An adult in gray cotton,
pale, elongated exaggeration, legs gaunt
and stick-like—a prisoner in the piles
at Dachau or Auschwitz.

My ribs break the skin barrier,
the sun's stigmata of light,
arms miles long, bending backward
from my trunk. There's no head,
only body: a sky image, a sad stolen photo.

This is the me behind razor wire.
The me Hubba-Bubba saw in New Orleans
at his table in front of St. Louis Cathedral,
caftan flowing over folds and folds
of fat, my scarred palm open to the sky,
time clicking backwards, clicking
backwards, rumbling the heavens
like a freight train.


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