“Magicians and Fortune Tellers,” “No Home-Maker Here” and “The One That Got Away”

“Magicians and Fortune Tellers,” “No Home-Maker Here” and “The One That Got Away”

Magicians and Fortune Tellers

         pluck a single card from a shuffled deck

         and there’s a one-in-fifty-two chance

         that you now hold    the two of hearts.

all our potential futures that we think exist somewhere

in maybe or one day

are as much illusion as these card tricks.

         there will only be one outcome.

in some places it is illegal to predict another’s future:

         a fraud.

yet, here we are, it seems,

always   trying   to predict   ours.

is it superstitious to believe a deck of cards could be more than it seems?

from suits to Tarot’s hallowed grounds,

casting a spell   of what if.

         ask one question    and then watch    as the cards are turned.

         in the end,

         too afraid

         to ask the question of us,

         I ask

         about me instead.

you remain as an unknown card,


                     two nights ago, you saw a movie with friends.

heart-broken and lonely,

they said,

you can never truly know another person,

and there is no such thing

as love.

though you quietly disagreed,

you let their opened hearts

bleed out a little,

just like doctors did when black humour was believed to be carried in the blood.

and no matter how rational   the two of us   try to be

we still cannot prove love’s existence

by simply knowing

it is so.

some day

will all this indecision   look inevitable?


I think

all I really want to know

is how   my deck   is stacked.

in theory, we want to consider

      the future

as unrestricted,

where any card could be dealt next,

and all things are possible;

I think this is what you mean   when you say,   ‘you worry too much’.

      as if,

      if we are not careful,

      these worries   will become boundaries.

but reality is limiting,

with its physical bounds,

and the fact   that all probabilities   still sum   to one.


if everything

were ever equally likely,

with an infinite number of things   we could be   or do,

then   all   those   individual   probabilities

       approach zero;

you see, nothing

and everything

are the only   two things

we know   we can’t be.

so I insist:

if there are some things   we will never be,

and some things   I will never   not want,

then perhaps

when these are not worries,

then they are warnings.

        for you, I am willing to dilute  my own set  of probabilities

        and shuffle our decks together,

        let the cards fall where they may,

even if your cards

will never truly reveal themselves to me

– because you   at least   know you   when I cannot.

       and if everything   we think we know

       about what is coming

       must be illusion

then at least

it is illusion

and trust.

No Home-Maker Here

we planted a seed

in the blue pot

by the backdoor.

I made sure you knew

it was your plant,

not mine.


the carpet we replaced

was blue for green

and more plush besides.

incremental improvements

to establish stability;


from the ground up.


the plant proved ill-conceived metaphor,

for as I saw it grow

in snapshot passings, out and back,

its first single sprout

branched apart.

I asked it why it had to be this way,

and its answer was to continue to spread,

though the base stayed strong,

untwining from that one singular, steady point,

as if to say, ‘what did you think would happen?’

in the home

I like open space –

I heard feng shui

was just making sure

an elephant could walk through the room.

but I’m as ignorant in that

as I am in maintaining health

of potted plants –

no gardener, no home-maker here.

and anyway,

who’d want an elephant

in the room?

on the couch we may face

the same way

but feel screened off,

as it were.

work follows us home,

so, mostly,

there’s busy silence,

or occasional talk

of who’s watering whose plant.

Today I walk inside,

past well-flourishing plant (now looking brown),

flick off shoes and send roots into plush still-new carpet;

I shuffle shuffle my socked feet

towards you, on the couch,

and then reach out,

devilish grin.

Hah! Even after all this time,

there’s still a spark between us.

The One That Got Away

Not a man

I loved.

The lives

I imagined.

The other mes

that could have been.


those potential futures

suggest a new form

in the shuffling about of genes –

the maybes

and one days

that nestle

at about

my navel.

About the Author

H. C. Phillips

H. C. Phillips formally studied physics for a number of years, as the exploration toward the essence of what reality is. Now studies neuroscience, as the extension into what reality is perceived to be. Simultaneous lifelong love of words and stories, as experimentation with all the what-could-bes.