She reads the leaves for half the street, she says,
settling her elbows to protect the space
for pot and cup.  The sticky oilcloth frays
round an old burn.  She’s rearranged her face
in sibylline infallibility
above the trail of steam that curls and lifts
to lose itself, and as she pours the tea,
jiggling the pot to ease the stubborn drifts
she pulls my hand onto the cup, as though
it’s reading me.  One sip:  then snatched, flung out,
and there the future hides, obscure and slow
at answering the unspoken:  what’s about
to happen?  Good, or bad? 
                                       Encrypted here
lie the eternal questions, life and death,
channeled through every oracle and seer.
She stares, begins to frown.  I hold my breath.

D A Prince

If you have any comments on this poem, D. A. Prince  would be pleased to hear from you.