Strange Sundays: Poetry That Surprises

Strange Sundays: Poems That Surprise: “Divination”

Strange Sundays: Poems that surprise and delight. “Divination” by Michelle Salcido 


“The witch was consulted by all, for relief in sickness, for counsel  

in trouble, or for foreknowledge of coming events.” Margaret Murray  


You want someone close to you to watch you  do something   

out of character, commonly cruel, and then    

still love you like before.    


The dish you tell everyone is your favorite really isn’t.   


Stop going back there, to that place that will never change you.    


The pattern of your pupil, the way it dilates,   

the way your attention circles this very word   

tells me you once secretly lit a fire    

in a garage or field, maybe a barn     

that got out of hand for a second,    

the flame shooting higher than you expected.    

That jolt in your chest—you’ve been looking   

for that feeling again   

and you don’t even remember    

how you got the fire out.    


I see you in those black shoes walking through a glass door,    

glancing back at something that is already gone.   


Your mug handle always faces east.    


You stumble through a meadow at dawn. Thick mist, dim light,    

long grass. You happen upon an animal—a sheep or deer or    

an impossibly red fox. She is giving birth, her low moans call   

to you, so you kneel, plunge your hands deep into wetness   

and pain and pull out a fawn, warm as cinnamon.   

She looks into your eyes and calls your name, your true name   

and calls it in a way that breaks your heart    

with tenderness and compassion for yourself.   


You lied about why you lied.   


You have mistaken your father for a stranger—  

he nods to you on the street every day and never speaks.   

by Michelle Salcido 


© 2015 Michelle Salcido 

This poem was written by Michelle Salcido and was originally published in Ethel Zine 2015. 

Michelle Salcido is from Tolleson, Arizona. She is a grateful mom to 3 kids. She gets to teach English and Creative Writing to the students of La Joya Community High School. She has an MFA from Pacific University. 

“Divination” was first published in the August 2020 issue of Ethel Zine.

All copyrights belong to the author, Michelle Salcido. 

In an effort to share more modern poetry with the world, I am attempting to share one poem approximately every other Sunday or so (usually with a strange/dark/offbeat spin, in honor of the journals I edit), to my blog here. If you are interested in being featured, message me via my Twitter @LeNoirBleu. The poem should already be published, with the copyright reverted back to you, and it should be at least one year since the original publication date.


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