I wandered through the county fair,
With plenty of coin and time to spare.
Carnies barking to and fro,
‘Spin the wheel’ and ‘enjoy the show.’
Neither bearded ladies nor muscle men,
No golden goose, no ribboned hen.
Not magic tricks with hands so sly.
Nothing really caught my eye.
Then an ancient tent I did spy,
With a single pennant up on high.
Faded yellow and dirty white,
Torn and stitched, ‘twas quite a sight.
As I ambled very near,
The sudden quiet was strangely queer.
Summer sun and laughter bright,
Were muted by murk’d twilight.
“Enter at your peril,” was I bid,
From a gravelly voice deep in the mid.
As if guided by spellcast song,
Into the tent, I went along.
Wretched stink, leather and rot,
Health and wealth, here was not.
A dirty kerchief wrapped her head.
She didn’t move. I thought her dead.
Eyes frozen in sightless clouds,
Shoulders wrapped in knitted shrouds.
Gnarled hands told a timeless past,
As they gripped on crystal glass.
“Your future, yes?” the corpse did croak.
I swallowed bile before I spoke
“Aye,” said I. “How’re my tomorrows?
Is there gladness or only sorrows?”
“A mixed bag, that much is certain.
Would you peek behind the curtain?
A glimpse of what worlds there be,
If only you will pay the fee.”
I emptied my pockets then and there,
Desperate and hurried to set us square.
Into a box with an ornate lid,
I gave her all my hard-earned quid.
The gypsy spirited away the box.
I was taken aback. Quick as a fox!
“No, young man. That’s not payment full.
‘Tis goodsome start, but coin’s not soul.”
My heart ached for words unhidden.
Even if ‘twas deemed forbidden.
She looked at me, peered in my mind.
With powers beyond the common kind.
All my sins, great and small,
Were laid open bare, dreams and all.
Money, lovers and bauble things,
Power, master of underlings.
The hag lurched up and took my hand.
Her gypsy ring marked its brand.
The deal was done, my soul was sold.
Now my fortune could be told.
“The Future is a Nest of Worms.
Consume the World. Wiggles and Squirms.
The Strands of Life. The Shears of Fate.
What makes the Balance, Love or Hate?”
I left her tent, stunned and dazed.
The moon was full, a ghastly phase.
Stumbling late to my flop-house cot,
It wasn’t long before I forgot.
The years since have been fair and kind.
A beautiful bride, a lucky find.
An easy ride to comfort and life,
Devoid of handicap and strife.
A charmed life, that much is clear.
I thought as much as I whistled near
The gaming grounds of the county fair.
Lights and music and candy air.
Many summers have come and gone,
But the gypsy tent, it went on and on.
My heart went dark and my stomach turned,
As my memory flooded in return.
The pennant flapped in an angry breeze.
That marked the end of my life in ease.
The gypsy devil says I’ve had my fill.
My time is up. Gotta pay the bill.
Photo by FissionVision