by Kevin Casey
For just a quarter, the old man would tell your fortune…
Summers after supper — curfewed, pent — we’d collapse
in a graceless pack on that squalid house, lost in its cedars.
Cracked lath spilled from the kitchen’s sagging plaster,
and the stained wall’s sconce made stacked magazines’
shadows lean on a refrigerator that had no door.
Dilated in the near-dark, he would splay the days before us —
a deck of amber playing cards, downy-edged with age —
and all of us held close in that bitter pall, not a syllable understood
but the thrill of our shared derangement. Outside, planets wheeled
across the zodiac with all the sky alive as we spilled, crazed,
into the summer night’s heat to meet our fates, laughing; behind,
the old man remained, with his house caving in around him,
crushed by the weight of his own stars.