A psychic once took me by the body, my whole body, and sat me down, called me “healer,” told me I could heal with my hands. We sat by the ocean in Key West. It was about to rain. She said I could have babies if I chose, even get married. I wanted to believe her. Back then, at eighteen, I hadn’t menstruated in two years. I wasn’t planning on bleeding, either. Bones were more important. But this woman, she said I could heal with my hands. The thought of touching another made me flinch. I wanted to love this woman who told me I could heal. Years would pass and I’d want to love other women, too, but it wouldn’t work. The psychic wouldn’t tell me this. Instead, she stood to leave. I paid her, and night settled.
Years later, at twenty-three and on my period, I went to some trendy bar and there was a by-donation psychic. I donated, put my beer in a corner, sat down. She took my hands, placed them palm up. You have lost everything, she said, and will only fall in love if you allow it. I wanted to tell her I haven’t loved a lover in my whole life, and I wasn’t planning on it.
I wanted to tell her how bitter I was, the choice I made to exist on the outskirts of another
But I didn’t tell her. There were others waiting, and my friends were asking me to dance.
Ashley Inguanta is a poet and art photographer whose work often focuses on romantic love, the spirit, landscape, and place. Most recently, you can find her poems in Contrary Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, and The Familiar Wild: On Dogs & Poetry. Her newest short collection of poetry, The Island, The Mountain, and the Nightblooming Field is forthcoming in May of 2020. You can learn more about Ashley’s poetry, art, and teaching at ashleyinguanta.net.