Ignition or Perdition

By Maurice Oliver

She reads my leaves.

First, she tells me that very shortly my
life will become smooth as a blister and
that good fortune will allow me to drink
from Cinderella's slipper. There will be
two omens to serve as forewarnings; a
groundhog will emerge from my mouth
looking for its shadow and an elaborate
grid-work of spider webs will appear
between my toes, several days before
the revelation. But she also cautions
me to pick the right Monk tune next time
I play a jazz album or I might face the
possibility of becoming an eternal extra
in a Fellini movie. Once success comes, I
should stash the loot under my mattress
and schedule the next bank hoist on a
day when someone I trust can drive the
get-away car. After all, both humor and
horror can be depicted from the back of
a dirt bike, competing for shiny awards in
a timeless paradox. When she's done, I
pay the minimal fee and step back out
into the night, where the cosmos waits to
deal with me from its simmering lobster pot.