The Fortune Telling Palm

for Marvin Bell

It was a remarkable tree
in an unremarkable garden
seagrape and seven-year apple

What are your questions for
the future what are your
questions for the present

Write them on a frond and
bury in the sand. Don’t
disturb the ants if you can

Keep from doing so. They
are the fire kind and do not
like to be stirred to action

on a hot day but will
swarm if provoked. Wait
three days or until the

first rains come. Shake
down a coconut smash it
on the ground as hard

as you can. How many
pieces does it make. Write
this down: the answer

to all questions can be
found this way. What will
you ask of its quiet sway.

It isn’t easy, and he doesn’t pray.

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell's books include Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf, 2012) and Repast (Graywolf, 2014). He lives and teaches in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Matt Valentine)
D. A. Powell

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Author: D. A. Powell

D. A. Powell's books include Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf, 2012) and Repast (Graywolf, 2014). He lives and teaches in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Matt Valentine)