August 26, 2020: Hannah Wagner’s “A Tarot Reading (5 of Cups)” & David Giannini’s “Outside, Before Entering”

A Tarot Reading (5 of Cups)

by Hannah Wagner 

The cups hang above me and
the wine drizzles down the sides of my mouth.

I let dreams by Fleetwood Mac play on repeat.

5 was always my lucky number
says every fortune cookie I never ate.

I am alone in the kitchen
at midnight       at dawn        at dusk.

Failure says the card
like it needed to be said. 

If I needed toilet paper I could barter
with the pounds of banana bread
I keep baking for no one.

Is this the card’s way of telling me
to leave my forlorn poems behind?

Right now, I am alone in my living room on my yoga mat
and my last google searches include:

how to make a homemade mask
cooking for one
death tolls

If the card is saying trash the past
then what do I draw from?

I’m resisting the push to always be present.

Right now, I am walking through a ghost town
and when someone approaches on the sidewalk
I walk to the other side of the road.

I leave my shoes at the front door
for fear of what I might bring in with me.

Poet’s Writing Prompt: 
Write a love letter to a monster of your own making.

Outside, Before Entering

by David Giannini

I always touch low-
hanging chimes by our door,
sounds that go so far
inside me, sparkling where
I remain unlocked with you,
sequestered against the sweep
of viral deaths, grief, with
this tinkling of strung metal 
tubes a talisman—friends
have mezuzahs; we use
the same touch. Our
laughter is the thing with tethers
to unwrap—then ride on—
leaving despair that loose
hitching-post in a ghost town.

Mass Poetry Writing Prompt:
Take a line or phrase from another poem or text (e.g. “Hope is the thing with feathers,” from Dickinson). Then, write a poem in which you take that line or phrase, and transform it somehow. This could mean changing the language, or placing it in a new context, or flipping it in some other way. Make the line yours.

Hannah Wagner

Hannah Wagner is a resident of Salem, Massachusetts. She graduated from Salem State University. She is also an actor and can be seen in many productions across the North Shore. Her work has been featured in The Broke Bohemian, Mass Poetry’s Poem of the Moment, Door is a Jar, Soundings East, Twyckenham Notes, Still Point Quarterly, Incessant Pipe, Sweet A Literary Confection and others.

David Giannini

David Giannini’s most recent books include The Future Only Rattles When You Pick It Up, In a Moment We May Be Strangely Blended, and Mayhap (Dos Madres Press 2018; 2019). His Viral Packet, mostly prose poem responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, was published by New Feral Press in May 2020. He received a 2020 James Hearst Finalist Award from The North American Poetry Review. He lives in Berkshire County.