Oracle Card: A Message (Zoom Call with a Lunar Moth on the Wall, and Tilting)

After Maureen Seaton / After Marcella Kroll

I focus on the hallow around your face. Instead of the missing, the planet your head makes, the giraffe of you because you hold your laptop camera down by your chest. I like when I mishear what you, or anyone says. It’s the mishearing that makes me awed by that small adjustment of meaning sound turns in my body—from translucent to ecstatic, irreversible as awe. When you show me how you did the magic trick, my awe still lingers. When I hurt at you reminding me how callous I have been to you, that undertow is only mine, cross-tiding my awe that you noticed what I did. You notice things, maybe, like the earth notices them: not just the glint in a friend’s eye when they’re sexting; not like a camera panning and pulling and pushing closer, but as something always already there. Like how I only learnt about the Goddess of Lost Things through that hazy, lazy, nasty, holy portal of the Google search and filled with awe that I could have found her after so long searching for any god to love me as I am. You remind me of siya: the specific genders you struggle in and claim, whoever you miss wrapping arms around your name, you remind me of Anagolay because you know what losing is. Because you know what losing is, I diagnose you god: an entity who might love another as they are: a being who’s lost, someone who, from the meanest deep, even if only because they’re standing in the kitchen with the light behind them, has a hallow around their head, fallow with want. And filling me with awe even though I know the magic trick: you’re in the kitchen somewhere else. I can’t remember how you smell. It must be something like loss. It must be the thing that makes any of us holy.

Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya) and Carving Ashes (CiCAC/Thompson Rivers). A winner of the 2020 Leonard A. Slade, Jr. Fellowship for Poets of Color and a co-founding editor of Locked Horn Press, he has received grants from the BC Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. His work appears in the Watch Your Head (Coach House) and Pandemic Solidarity (Pluto) anthologies, as well as recently in AnomalyOvenbirdSolstice, and elsewhere.