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Haruspices of the Fair Land

The you in the poem is my sister, Marsha.


“See it? It’s in the far horizon just where the gold turns coral.”

You’re standing with left hip jutted out, pointing, extending your arm like a bridge.

Your profile is hawk-like in your determination to show the way.

Eyes glittering, you’ve already latched onto something there.

You shift your weight, a vibration rumbles underground, and I glance down.

A coin glints in the pocket of your penny loafers. I snatch it out.

You don’t seem to notice or if you do, the silence is a benediction.

We’re in Grandma’s kitchen on Marsalis Avenue.

She’s plucking the entrails from a chicken.

“This is going to be our Sunday dinner: Granddaddy’s favorite.”

The viscera trail along the base of the white porcelain sink

like hibiscus tea leaves.

I’m standing in the doorway: half in, half out.

You and Grandma stare down at the livers and gizzards, arms akimbo.

You’re speculating like you’re solving a puzzle, loosening a mystery.

Suddenly, you pinch a ruby chunk and daintily

drop it into your mouth. When you turn

to look at me, you’re all amber feathers and woody talons.

You dip down and sail through the open window above the sink.

Grandma wipes her bloody hands on her apron, pushes her glasses

back to the bridge of her nose, and sobs, “She just had to go.”

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