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Omens at War

Prohibit omens to get rid of doubt, and soldiers will never leave you.
~ Sun Tzu

You tried to find me in your morning horoscope
But I was always hiding behind planets
Not yet risen, sometimes catching rides
On someone else’s crossing stars.
You looked in how-to books, tried praying
To clouds so I might fall on you like rain
You used earrings like lures,
Plumped and flattened flesh and,
After testing the social climate,
Jiggled on the dance floor
Waiting for me to bite.
You heard me in every song –
The lover you dreamed would hurt you.
And now that you’ve found me the lyrics
All speak to you, rephrasing our latest fight
Or existential breakfast. You look for
Blond hairs, sniff my passing for perfume,
Listen to the tone or its lack in my voice.
All this living by omens has readied you
To die by them a little each day.
Now I’ve begun to wonder about
The I Ching scattering
Of toothpaste caps, hanging stockings,
Morning paper (lowered or raised?),
Toilet seat (up or down?),
Mud pack (on early or at bedtime?),
Toast (brown or black?).
I speculate for an hour each day about
Which sign will set fire
To our untended dry kindling unkindnesses.

The leaves at the bottom of my tea cup
Are easier to read and more erotic
Than your eyes. The mirror on the wall
Is easier to speak my fears and dreams to.
My fortune cookie today said: “Believing in omens
And not in people is a bad sign.” The dangerous
Omens are the ones we never see coming
As they divide us from behind.
Signs are mercenary, taking any side that believes them.
When they go to war, we are the only casualties.