Good Fortune

The coin fed gypsy, returned to the arcade this year freshly repaired and painted. Teeth yellow and faintly brown like Daffodil heads bowing to die, like her crookedly redeemed poesy red cheeks just installed.


For purely economic sense as a sign of the times and other cliches, a September carnival arrives in town to entertain the masses. Let them eat fried cherry pies, snickers on a stick, giggle flavored cotton candy. Clown-clad townies clamor for a dollar to raise a big top full of color and ridicule.

Operating under misconceptions, the coin-fed gypsy dined on change. She returned yearly, a freshly repaired painted lady without apologies. Exposed slightly in her pouting mouth, the gypsy’s crooked teeth painted faintly the color of Daffodil heads bowing to die. The half bodied frozen expression finds redemption through her poesy red cheeks, set back towards a scarlet scarf tied crown and pirate’s lies. Perched like a parrot, she sits behind her glass barred cage. Shining round emerald-green eyes plucked from a wolf by vultures that fly to the will of her invisible sculptor to fill her up at long last. Done, he puts down the tools and trades her for a wife.

Nearly missing her casket wood box, she mechanically forces a finger to point at my heart. I see you, I see you. Then out flies my first fortune of the season and I catch it as fast as a garden mole. Out it slipped from my hungry hands and blew, with all of autumn too, from the vented tent. The parade train outside huffs and stomps and stops to allow the flutter of monarchs waived  like a protest banner, written in despair and orange powder from their unfurled wings, now left only with mottled spots of white and black eyes. They rise to the occasion of my good fortune without jealousy, like a dense fog in the last moments of morning. Air finally pulls out a shroud of sound, voices ringing in choirs and sing dirges in a hundred and one distant languages.

The deliberate wind whispers lines into my cupped palms, and the pall barer of pain’s fortune read, “What say you, magician? What moves the oars echoing waves in still waters? Your new name, Shameless, hides behind an alchemist’s golden disgrace.” The gypsy grins with cold laughter on her breath, sour with whiskey. Witch-gray gnarled knuckles extend like cat’s claws to sharpen on my graceless expression.

I soon realize the answers lay in my hands not on the ground, covered in a snowdrift of straw and shreds of paper. Pre-typed by an off set printer, her ready-to-wear fortunes sized in one answer fits all questions, meant to stop cowards dead in their traps. Awakened from an inky dream, I suddenly rise in my sleep with a morning hater’s heart, with my eyes as red as dead rosebuds. My god’s instructions are typed out of tiny slips of the tip of a forked tongue   and cover me with a quilt of guilty pleasure.

A carnival seamstress conductor waves her wand, and the orchestra of my Guardian angels sing to me just off key. “What brought you here, shiny black crow? What moves you to plough seedy dirt rows?” Hidden beneath her moon mask, clenching the truth tightly in her jaw, her hands now ascend towards the top of her box full of heaven-made answers.

Did she mean for me to unconsciously rediscover my reasons? Fortunately, at just that very same moment, the old girl grew new.

4 comments on “Good Fortune”

  1. Hi Ilene. Thanks for the link. I’ve read your wonderful piece three times. Very dense imagery and enigmatic plot line. I’m still not quite sure how to interpret the ending. I take it the whole thing was a dream and your conclusion is that one has to determine her own fortune because fortunetellers give generic advice that gives cowards an excuse to quit? I do not understand the last line. Is the old girl the fortuneteller? And how does she become new? Your very rich imagery is like thick vines that hold the reader back. Perhaps that is your intention. At any rate, you are a fabulous writer, but some of us need a key!!!

    1. The old girl growing new is me – that’s my fortune. I seem to bound back to life when the prognosis isn’t a good one. Try: playing the cat -love your feedback

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