Laser Palmistry: The Early Days

Determined not to ask too much,


the chiromantic surgeon's very first client


passed up the lottery-winning star along the Apollo line,


the peacock's eye on the Mercury finger for


luck and protection.


But, given the discount for scientific advancement,


she made four choices: erase the ring of Saturn


that circled her left middle finger and kept


her melancholy;


build up her mount of Apollo, to make her


lively and creative; lengthen her heart line --


she would be discriminating and faithful in love;


and draw her a good strong fate line, because


she had none.


What kind? "Surprise me," she said,


and opened her hands, and felt so naked


she had to close her eyes.

Who knew that while his meticulous lasers worked,
the tea leaves in her mug in the kitchen sink
shifted before they dried? or that three counties over,
a sheep suffered cramps as its entrails readjusted?
Meanwhile, no fewer than nine unrelated people
felt tickles like ants in their palms as their
               own lines moved.
That night, while the patient's unexpected headache
accompanied minor changes in the protuberances
               of her skull,
a few widely scattered astronomers frowned
at anomalies in their data,
and on Floreana, in the Galápagos Islands,
an as yet undiscovered vein
of perfectly aligned crystals disappeared.
And that was just the beginning.


Sarah Lindsay is the author of Primate Behavior (1997), a collection of poems.


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