Because I Never Learned to Read the Tarot

            after Rod Jellema’s “Because I Never Learned the Names of Flowers”
It is candlelight and velvet where
I smudge away the bitter-mocha mad mojo funk
and motion for you to belly-up to my tableau.
I flex the deck into an artful bridge and begin
to delvesee into your destiny
the whole esoteric assemblage of Truth.
Seeker, I scry for you
Cacophony and The Sycophant, crisscross The King of Irony. The Waiting Uber.
Below, Astonishment; above, the Queen
of Tablecloths covers you. As others see you, Ambivalence. Happenstance, your hopes and fears.
The Apogee. The Trump.
I prophecy Five Fisticuffs, I divine Nine disastrous Tweets,
the Bearer of Mufflers, Bravado, The Coffee Shop,
and the Ace of Bases,
oracling: The Scissors, The Knight of Whenevers,
your best course of action. Sustenance, the Dilettante. The Wheel of Dissonance.
— Shannon Connor Winward



Shannon Connor Winward is the author of the Elgin-award winning chapbook, Undoing Winter. Her writing has earned recognition in the Writers of the Future Contest and has appeared in (or is forthcoming from) Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, The Pedestal Magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer, Literary Mama, Star*Line, and The Monarch Review, among others. In between writing, parenting, and other madness, Shannon is also an officer for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, a poetry editor for Devilfish Review and founding editor of Riddled with Arrows Literary Journal.

Editor’s Notes:
Thumbnails of major arcana from Tarot de Marseille by Nicolas Conver (ca. 1760). Recolored version.

See also:
for discussion on cognitive dissonance.