Samuel J. Fox: I Am Afraid
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente

The High Priestess Inverted

Your birthday passed like a kidney stone in the body of the year.

I wished you happy birthday without expectation for reply.

In all of this, I take a handful of happy memories:

when we were stoned and you sat on the edge of my bed

like a tiny queen on a throne of sunlight, lavender, balmy air conditioning.

The night I brought you home and you tackled me

onto the carpet, slept atop of me the whole night

pillows on the floor, our muscles sore upon waking.

I’ve never believed in luck, but fortune is what you make of it.

My intuition tells me you live a life now of wonder and meaning.

My intuition tells me you were right to leave.

My intuition tells me I am subject to my own image and how

I have formed it from clay into a misshapen totem I now worship.

I squandered it. I look into the spread

scrying for an answer that may never come but all the while I know

I found love, and, perhaps, its living ghost inside of me is enough.

The Lovers Upright

You will always have a choice.

I choose to wander into the solitude of my dreams.

You chose to permanently live in the city of lights and little sleep.

Daily you must live with your decisions.

I decided against change: stay morose, scholarly, wearing moth-bitten robes loneliness provides.

You decided to fall out of love with me and focus on yourself.

Of which, I am glad. I turn the card over and am frightened.

I turn the card over and the tremor of indecision scuttles through me.

Choose wisely: either the staircase into a fallen sky, or the staircase into a rising grotto.

The Moon Inverted

I am not afraid of the darkness.

I am not afraid of the baying of the wolf.

I am not afraid of the nightmares of you

falling in love with someone else

living a prosperous life

happy with the state of the universe.

I am not afraid of the rippling waters.

I am not afraid of my reflection in them.

I am afraid of what is beneath my reflection.

I am afraid of what troubles the waters.

unhappy with my shape in the universe

living a ubiquitous life

falling in love with a distant shadow

I am afraid of the waking dreams of newness.

I am afraid of what beats inside the beast.

I am afraid of what the darkness hides.

Editor’s Note: These poems are part of our collection, Haunted: Tarot Poems

Samuel J Fox is a bisexual writer of poems and essays living in the Southern US. He is poetry editor for Bending Genres LLC; he appears in numerous online and print journals. When not writing, you can find him in coffee shops, dilapidated places, and graveyards, depending. He tweets (@samueljfox).