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Miriam Bird Greenberg

Up from the tall grass
       by the shell of the old motor home,
    flew twelve quail.

On our notepads we charted
       their arcs. One flying
    off to the left

means sorrow, but what if
       from our angle we saw left
    when it had really flown

straight up, spiraling to the sky’s
       ceiling, which would mean
    transcendence? The children

had had enough of this augury.
       When can we get to haruspicy?
    What about hieroscopia,

a mean one asked. Personally,
       I favor sideromancy, burning straw
    on a hot iron, or geloscopy,

interpretation of laughter,
       but a thorough investigation
    is necessary. If

it means sorrow,
       it’s about your life,
    the mean one whispered

and one of the small children crumpled
       into tears. How quickly
    we were learning

that divination
       was a science
    which could be relied upon.

Miriam Bird Greenberg

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