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The Major Arcana of the Kitty Genovese Tarot


  • The Giant Oaks of Kew Gardens, Queens: if leafy, indicates sacrifice; if bare-limbed, indicates a refusal to look inward. To see through to. To throw shade.
  • The Mantis Religioso (The Preying Mantis): unusual; unnatural as a wire hanger, fast as a blade snapping back into a bone handle. Warms himself in the globe lamp hanging from the ceiling of the foyer in the Tudor apartments. Indicates the ease of vanquishment.
  • The Medusa: lying on the field of a cracked breastbone, gazing up at the insect; capable of suffocating Sicilian men once they have seen her beauty. Dangerous though beheaded. Indicates something will reach through half a century to you, but not moonlight nor light from the street lamp.
  • The Trinicria of Dancers’ Legs: bent at the knee, toes pointing east, indicating sunrise in hours, begs to be plated in gold. Indicates the three corners of Sicily, indicates an insert to fit a 45 single onto a hifi so the song won’t drag & warp, indicates caution: go around the other corner, go the other way, risk being cornered.
  • The Sheaves of Wheat: gold from the loamy fields by the mouth of hell and Etna; sprouting from the V of the dancers’ legs, where the blood should flow, but stopped. Indicates infertility, indicates the time she bound her breasts to look like the man that night she danced and danced.
  • The Queen of Mouths: thirteen mouths slit & steaming over her body, lavender essence wafting up to the mantis, and then gone, eyebrows like a crow that can find any heart in a field, kittenish hair shorn all spicy like desiccated basil, V at the nape indicating kiss me, kiss me there.
  • The Queen of Palms: entwined with Queen of Mouths, legs bent, cradling in blood and cum. Indicates friendship, indicates I hear you, I hear you over the B-side of a Mary Wells single: Boy, What Have You Done? Indicates a gentle death at last. Indicates a soft palm over a body of mouths, covering each mouth: I’m here, I heard you and I’m here.


Jennifer Martelli’s debut poetry collection, The Uncanny Valley, was published in 2016 by Big Table Publishing Company. She is also the author of the chapbook, Apostrophe and the chapbook, After Bird, from Grey Book Press. Her work has appeared in Thrush, [Pank], Glass Poetry Journal, Cleaver, and The Heavy Feather Review. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as a co-curator for The Mom Egg VOX Folio.