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I don’t believe, exactly, in the stars,
the way I don’t believe dog-earing
beer bottle labels keeps me safe
from the games men play or the way
I don’t know how to pray to god. I read
tarot through the barrel’s scope,
looking for the outs, the catches,
eyeing the exits. I don’t believe but
I collect clues. I read faces, signs,
an oracle in every pot of collards.
I’m black-eyed pea faithful. I salt
my left shoulder, bless hearts, souls,
sneezes. Resist the letter of the law
but give over reluctantly to numbering
my days. Oui, ja, yes, I assent. Spirits
don’t speak, just match my footsteps.
My spine yields to invisible hands,
strung lockets full of just in case.


Finnian Sawyer is a technical writer, associate editor emeritus at Hugo-nominated publication Shimmer, and occasional slam poet. Their work has appeared in Screen Door Review, The Skinny, and The Fogdog Review. They live in Denver and on Twitter (@finstergrrrl). Every time Fin goes home to Tennessee, they get the four-county family tour of graveyards.

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