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i ching

by nessa o'mahony

You bring the coins, your face an oriental mask
for it is serious what we do here,
under a Greek sky and the purple bougainvillaea.

I have no parchment to record the passing of this day
so a notebook must suffice to transcribe the hexagrams
as I cast and cast again. "They’re called yarrow," I say

and you nod briefly, not distracted from the task of divination
as you squint at the shapes drawn, all tanned, purblind gravity
and you begin to read the answer to what I may or may not have asked.

Your voice slows to a crawl of intonation as you incant
of a blue-eyed man who'll lead me cross the river
to a complete harmony of opposites, which do attract, of course.

"That makes sense," I lie, my turn for enigma as I gaze off to the hills,
although I should take my cue from the cockerels here, who know
there is no wrong time and no right time, to be heard.

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