HomeSouthern VoiceHer Real Name Was Peaches

Her Real Name Was Peaches

by Darnell Arnoult 

Madame Natasha’s ringed hands show
their age, like mine. The cards are worn,

faded red to pink and slick. Her deck and hands
make hushed sounds as she shuffles

and slides each day, here, there, and yet,
to the tabletop. A hidden face, my life

spreads across beautiful paper slabs,
stones on a path. In the center—what is,

below—what was and what pushes and pulls,
above—what comes and what comes again,

if I don’t change my ways. Here, she says,
is the Tower. You will be reborn. Here,

she says, is cups, that is love. I consider
love in all its renderings. The lotus, the water,

the two goblets. I reach and pluck a card
from her deck. I say, Try this one. I take

another. And this one, I say. I lay my choices
over each she has carefully placed in my path.


A native of Virginia, Darnell Arnoult teaches at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. Her collection of poems, What Travels with Us, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the Appalachian Studies Association’s Weatherford Award. This poem is from her new book Galaxie Wagon and is reprinted with permission from LSU Press

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