how to fall in love

drive to the oracle in the rain
bring white tapers, a pink rose, rose quartz
a miniature white horse
incense, a tiny goddess your father made
a silk pouch
the knight of cups
a crystal phallus

get lost

arrive at the oracle’s in tears

“magic responds well when the energy is topsy turvy
i don’t know why” she’ll say

she will be feline and tall with a soft sway of hips
leading you up the stairs

write a goodbye note to the one who will never leave his wife
burn it
ignore the way the flames try to reach out for you
later, you will scatter the ashes at a crossroads
where the street lamps have gone out*

tell the oracle, “i’m not ready, i’m a mess”
let her gently suggest you try anyway
why not?
sometimes the magic likes a mess

with the things you have brought
make a charm for your beloved
bless it with the elements
write him a letter
tell him how you see him
and how he sees you
let her summon the spirits,
yours and his
hear her whistle and chant
feel the rain and wind enter the room
feel your mother’s ghost caress your face
your hands open on your thighs
think,”this is a lovely way to spend an evening”

meet the oracle’s husband in the kitchen
she summoned him this way
he has brought her food and sits on a stool
long-legged and poetic
just who she longed for

drive home
*(this is when to scatter the ashes)

put the charm in your bed
under your pillow
look closely for signs
pay good attention
the man in the cafe reading melville
who smiles at you—lovely
the wet mark on cement that looks like a heart
the architect with the blue eyes who writes you online

go out with him
have tea and listen, watch
don’t worry if he plays it a little cool
surfer’s do that
your best friend will say
ask her if you should reach out to him
heed her advice
let him pursue you
not as a game
but to allow you both
the great pleasure

meet him at the restaurant
park on the roof
touch his arm
tell him he has an artist’s hands
(he does)
let him walk you to your car
watch as he realizes why you parked there
with a view of the magic hotel and your little town
twinkling below
gone with the wind
and the wizard of oz
were made here

let him kiss you
snuggle against him
see how you fit

go home and write poems
don’t send them
not yet.




there was a hole in my lavender camisole
the one from the wedding shower
with the lace trim around the tiny straps
the eyelet hem
i found it this morning as i was loading the wash
stuck the tip of my index finger into it
and felt the squeeze of my lungs
the grief in my intestines
not because of the camisole itself
of course not
no, not because of the actual hole
but because of what it means
the storm
the rocky slope
going up and up and up
the never-ending darkness
where peeps of light try to twinkle their eyes
only to be swallowed right back up
a hole in the very thing i thought would last
until i couldn’t lift my arms
to slide it over my shoulders
i looked at the hole
my finger
the lines swirling on my fingerprint
the need overwhelming
i pushed all the way through
and made it twice the size
then ripped the camisole to shreds

– LB


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