mediocre revenge

having had bad
tarot turns
in 1972 I threw my newish pack

into the fire
they’d been a gift
from a difficult person who knew I’d wanted this pack’s particular

sneaky aesthetic, rambunctious themes
I assumed the person concerned had been generous – they had!
with no ‘ulterior’

but the roaring steel drum
into which I threw the cards
had ‘previous’

like in late winter when I pruned the willow and
tossed its innocuous smooth twigs
into the flames from cardboard and pine

the incipient buds flowered in a five second spring
steam pressure pushed
perfect fresh leaflings into sunlight and smoke

but then they were black
shrivelled gone
there was some criticism of my

despoiling the willow
and burning the cards
but enough was enough

and too many people had been spooked
by what I’d turned up…
when I recalled this

fifty years later
the first thing
my wife asked was

who was the hanged man?
of course it was
obvious now