Jill Khoury

The Fortune Teller Channels My Dead Mother

and says she wants you to forgive her.
Awesome, like the Hindenburg, the Titanic—
fire or ice cracking invincible skin. The disaster
of the way she cracked, burnt, sank into
her own blue until she impersonated
a pile of ashes or an immovable shoal.
Post-wreck, my family does not know me.

Is the evil eye strung around my neck
meant for them? I finger it when they
attempt communication. I am half her. I ran
aground. Or she coats me, invisible slick.
With one spark, I’m incendiary. Is suicide
genetic? My rage can obliterate home,
body, the long tether that holds me to earth.

Once, she read amends from a cheat sheet
while I stood barelegged in North Carolina
heat, slapped at gnats. Her words
like a child stacking letter blocks. I’m sorry.
Will you forgive me?
Surprised beyond
words, I answered yes, and now I know
I lied.