Barbara Daniels

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Consulting an Oracle

A flush appears, moves down
my neck and under my collar.
A waitress is naming the specials,

fish of the day, duck sausage, clams.
I start to flicker. I’m Amanda,
the waitress tells me. I’ll take care of you.

Oh, Amanda, this blush you see
has been with me from birth. I sweated
as I crawled out of my cradle.

How can you help me? I’m a little
too somber? You want me to laugh
more? I look at my hands, black shoes,

twitching watch. I fork up the salad
you bring, lift small bones
from my flounder. I need to go home

to reclaim my bald bedstead, the walls
with a pearl’s iridescence. But I sit
at a teetering table chewing innocent clams.

Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.