Denise R. Weuve

Ink Damage and Other Permanent Stains

Prophecy or Hex

My mother was the oracle of Daisy Street. She divined prophecies with playing cards, the same way gypsies would. Fancy tarot cards were costly when the truth could be predicted for with a 25 cent pack of bicycle playing cards. At one moment you could be betting a full house and the next moment you could find out your house was falling apart if the four of clubs showed up to warn of changes that would only be for the worse when betrayal and loss showed up. The Ace of Spades was the worse, foretelling death.
Some of the neighborhood women, all housewives, would come by daily for tea and destiny. Some learned of love late in life when the four of hearts made a rare appearance.
I envied those women. They were allowed the cards. They were allowed fate or chance to step in, I was never given that luxury. My mother always prophesied for me through the gods. They would slip into her head and spill out of her mouth during a possession phase. The gods were right, even now, I cannot fault her for their words: “you’re fat and ugly, no one will love you.” “your mouth is acid to all who come in contact with you.” “Any man foolish enough to want you, will beat you, the minute you open your mouth.”
And I want to know which God told her? Which God shifted behind her blue eyes back then and showed her the peacock squealing today, “Shut the fuck up. Your questions and comments ruin everything. Take what you get and like it. Your ugly fat ass won’t get better.” I want to know why he is not the only one. I want to know why she or God couldn’t have been kinder, turned me mute, so I wouldn’t speak. Turned me dumb, so I didn’t understand the words. Turned me numb so I couldn’t feel the bruises. Turned me deaf, so I can’t hear the phone at midnight telling me no one else is calling. Turned me blind so I can’t see the text calling me baby, the way mother should have. Turned off my memory so each man would not remind me that my mother was a prophet.
My mother turned each prophecy into a hex.

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