2 Poems by Catherine Kyle

Psychic Performs Tarot Reading for the End of the World on Live TV--You Won’t Believe What the Cards Predict!

Two of Wands

Discoveries, the card says. They are not created equal. That we can’t wander fountain-side shopping malls at night due to windowless vans and the things that take place there. That the things that take place there are worse than we imagined. That goodness is not armor. That goodness is no shield. That we talk about the good things we do in the Uber, the volunteer work, the courteous things, praying that the driver will not throw the auto-lock and speed off into an alley. That we need to celebrate so much more carefully. That confetti is both sparkle and gag. That when the teacher had us all release balloons on Earth Day—what was she thinking?—several things most likely died.

Princess of Pentacles (reversed)

Slothfulness, the card says. Wanting all for nothing. Wanting to uproot whole systems like thorned weeds. You haven’t paid your due diligence, they chide us. You haven’t put in your 3-5 years. We say, But this is entry-level stuff—people are dying! Rattling the cage while they sip brandy and smile. Humans made systems and humans can undo them. That’s the idea, but we only live so long. These heart-arms are carrying groceries and interest rates, part-time jobs and chronic pain and midnight coffee howls. These heart-arms are buckling, their elbows jelly-quivering, their spiral-eyed emojis peeking out from kale fronds. Every generation has wanted something different. We know this, but we see the Sword of Damocles, its gleam. If adolescence is the refusal to claim normal, then indeed, we are stunted as you say.

Temperance (reversed)

Excess, the card says. Let alcohol flow through the streets like a golden river. Let us light cigars off of dollar bills. Succumb—if you can’t beat them, join them. Let palms like jewel-encrusted gauntlets pat our backs behind closed doors: You know how it is. Accept it—this is just the game, kid. That hierarchies bend and flex but do not break. That they reincarnate as something else—a game of hide-and-go-seek. Let us shelter ourselves and nothing else; let us barricade our bodies. Let no harm come unto us, and we’ll tune the static out. Shut the blinds as Vesuvius coats whole neighborhoods in red. Healthcare for a promise not to look at those burnt bodies. Just sign here. We say, Wait. We say, No.

Catherine Kyle is the author of the poetry collection Parallel (Another New Calligraphy, 2017); the poetry chapbooks Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015), Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015), and Saint: A Post-Dystopian Hagiography (dancing girl press, forthcoming); and the hybrid-genre collection Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014). Her writing has been honored by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Alexa Rose Foundation, and other organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University and is pursuing an MFA in Poetry through New England College. She teaches creative writing at the College of Western Idaho and through The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. Her website is www.catherinebaileykyle.com.