Reading Lines

by Mariah Bosch

A man in a powder blue suit
offered to tell me my future
on Olive Avenue. When I tried 
to say no, he said Baby, please,
in a way that told me that he 
might know something that
I didn’t, so I held out my palm.

I used to hold out the same palm
on the playground for other girls
to read. They would tell me that 
I was destined to have five kids
and a loving husband. Maybe a 
mini van. They told me my future
with such certainty that it was 
difficult not to see some truth,
some sincerity, some genuine 
desire to wish a happy future
upon each other. So I believed them.

The man on Olive said he could see
Los Angeles and its sprawl. He
could see me there, too, but he 
wouldn’t tell me what I was doing
without another five dollars.
I looked happy, though, he said. 
Happy in Los Angeles and 
laughing in the sun. There,
in Fresno, I sought to find
an intersection of these futures.

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