Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, July 6, 2014


by Amy Soricelli

She took me down the block - Magda in her thick black hair; said she was "gonna tell me what my life would be
after the brick fifth floor share the room with your brother shit".
What the days would look like mapped across the top of my head - how my shoes would swing under a table.
"Family services took some of her kids so don't ask about the crib" she tells me on the way up the wide flat art-Deco stairs,
the marble cold against my flip-flops.
She has a neat house with plastic flowers/their dusty petals perched on her window sill.  She offered us
lemonade from Flintstone jelly jars.
She took Magda's hand straight out/her palm flat against the formica table - turned it over to see
the long crooked life she traced with her pointy chipped red nails.
"Oh see see" she said.  "You will have a long life but you see here? here...
you won't find love for a while"
Magda was 14 years deep into Puerto Rican/she hipped her hips to the side squirmy tight on the wobbly
kitchen chair.
I was the last Jew on the block fresh from Hebrew School and a broken home.
We threw our five dollars into the center of her kitchen table and she scooped it up
and dug it deep into her flowery blouse.
Her son came out of his room to get some food and looked hard at Magda then down at my chest.
He smiled that smile like boys do when they think they know something.
He leaned his back against the stove and said he could teach me to slow dance like I never did before.
Magda laughed and his mother shoo'd him out/his wink leaving a long trace down the line of my shorts.
Spanish music played from the side of the hall and the fortune teller rocked her shoulders while she said
"Oh see - see here - there will be many babies but they will not always be happy".
Sirens raced by the window on the other side of the world up the street where the junkies lay flat
across the subway grating so they can catch a breeze from the trains/grab up lost pennies they fish up with
stolen poles from City Island.
"Here, give me yours" the lady says and grabs my skinny wrist while the smell of frying fish dances a short
hustle like a pulse.
She says to me "long life but it's a straight line. See? you have no waves- just straight straight"
I stared hard at her gold earring as they dangled steady in the streaming Venetian blind sunlight.
Magda laughs and says "your life is a straight line baby" and wipes the fish steam from her aviator glasses.
We bounce the steps down to the street/look up to see her arms already folded on the window sill.
The fortune teller already looking passed up to the other side of the block/the sun starting its slow liquid journey
behind the brick houses on the same street as the parked car with the flat tire; passed the old man with the lazy eye -
passed everything we passed the first time.