Fall 2021

Cartomancy (the Beautiful Part is Tomorrow)

By Amy Bagwell

watch my hands
not my face

I’m the safecracker
in my heist movie life
and I will get in
and I have a car waiting
and she is a good driver
and she is ready

but if I think of her
I will never get this right
and never follow her
flashlight for miles
to her favorite stars

is it wrong to say yes I see?

I ask the cards
and they respond to me
and the beautiful part is tomorrow
going back to the well
for a redder letter day
a later reckoning

I can do this
I can align all half
million possible spreads
to the moments through which
I am guessing

yes. it is a practice of faith

beyond the pitcher’s
the batter’s
the catcher’s
it’s the certainty of the umpire
who 70 times per game
2400 games a season

reinvents an invisible rectangle
upon which the endeavor
is premised
and by which its outcomes
are determined

watch my hands

Such A Moon

spring. my favorite songs are lined up
like suitors and the lawn flashes handfuls
of new blue violas on such slight stems
they can hardly hold their yellow faces
sunward. a few in a vase will stay bright
for tonight and the honeybees won’t know
what little they’re missing and the bumblebees
will continue in their oblivion bobbing
so improbably they must be on strings
worked by someone far away and very near-
sighted and before you decide this is a religious
poem think who you’re talking about. the bees
may want to be mating but only bounce
off each other negotiating in their one-
letter language. an afternoon moon appears
(if such a moon rises, I have never seen it)
so pale it’s translucent and on cue Art Tatum
plays “It’s Only a Paper Moon” with all
of his hands which were never not bouncing and
yes out of your embrace the world’s a temporary
parking place
a lovesick singer would sing
if there were a singer singing but it’s only all
of the piano turned inside out and back
with every measure and gesture. for you. take
these flowers. watch bees with me.


Amy Bagwell’s poems will be/are recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review, Free State Review, Cloudbank, and Boxcar Poetry Review. A co-founder of the artists’ residency nonprofit Goodyear Arts, she holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

Fall 2021