mediums; the ones who never deign to tell us anything
about that future whose smell we already know.
Always, the women get their hands dirty” by Luisa Igloria

The wind changes direction, and we smell
the future, just a hint of iron
underneath the scent of oyster
beds at low tide.

I think of ancient ancestors
who could forecast the week’s weather
based on the wanderings
of each cloud. But I consult
the oracles through my computer.

My oracles will be silenced
tonight. The wind howls
around my closed hurricane shutters.
I can smell the distant miseries
that this storm has folded
into itself, the despair that threatens
to fill the house with sorrow.
I add extra spices to the pot of stew,
some peppers dried during a distant harvest.

Although I still have electricity, I light
the candles and turn off
every switch. I fill the lamps with oil.
I could live forever in this light
that hides the dust intent on colonizing
every surface.

I give the stew one last stir and tuck
towels at every entrance. I rock
in the chair carved long ago for a pregnant
bride. I open the antique
prayer book and let the ancient rhythms
cast their spell.

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Kristin Berkey-Abbott has published two chapbooks: Whistling Past the Graveyard (Pudding House Publications) and I Stand Here Shredding Documents (Finishing Line Press). She oversees the department of General Education at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and she teaches as an adjunct at both Broward College and City College. She writes regularly about books, creativity, poetry, and modern life at her creativity blog, and she explores a variety of spiritual issues at her theology blog. Her website gives more information about her writing and her academic career.

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