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My mother is seeing a fortune teller
because she wants to know
how much longer her Chihuahua
that has lost most of his teeth,
all his hair, and growls at nothing
but his own heartbeat
will live;

and if her house will burn again,
because she couldn't
handle it a second time:
the smoke-ruined furniture,
plaster like white flags
hanging from the ceiling
and the firemen hacking
into the heart of the blaze;

and if her grandson
will grow into the image
of his father who can't sleep sober
because his breathing
reminds him of the women
he has beaten:
how they took it so easily,
forgave him just as easily,
and finally dumped him.

My mother is seeing a fortune teller
because she wants to know
the exact date, time, and place
the aliens will land.
And she'll be there --
without baggage, without ID,
without her Chihuahua.

She'll walk up the ramp
slowly and alone,
unafraid of the theatrical
lighting and rubbery arms
beckoning for her
to come in, come in, come in.

And as they take off,
she'll take off all her clothes,
throw them out the nearest porthole,
and watch as they burn up
in the heat of her escape.

 

Copyright © 2003 Mark Rudolph

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Mark Rudolph is the editor/publisher of the small press magazine Full Unit Hookup. His work, both poetry and fiction, has appeared in Byline Magazine, Louisville Review, Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Dreams and Nightmares, Harpur Palate, and many other places. He lives in southern Indiana with his faithful dog Monty. His previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive.



Mark Rudolph lives in southern Indiana and is a '00 graduate of the Clarion Writers' Workshop at Michigan State University. His work has appeared in Lost Creek Letters, ByLine, and Magazine of Speculative Poetry, and he has work forthcoming in Electric Wine, Terra Incognita, Star*line, and other magazines.
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