madame fortune teller
By Jess Provencio

i’m next door to the oldest 18 and over club in weho
when they get there early
they stop at starbucks to caffeinate    then come to see me
i’ve sat here for many years
in the bright color-blind mumu everyone expects
tired old queen in worn out drag
madame fortune teller advising the lost boys
my smudged crystal ball
has seen waterfalls of tears
cascade down young dimpled cheeks
the boys that file past have aged
replaced by fresh faces
sometimes i see them in the early morning
huddled in my doorway            next to the payphone
still too drunk to drive            when i get to work
when i still look like a worn out old man
with a steaming cup of coffee
when i still have to pop my pills
although they are fewer
now that azt has gone out of style
i survived the first time we had to fight
the virus that threatened to wipe us out
and now i see naïve boys
doomed to repeat our stupid mistakes
asking when they will find true love
i sigh                    and push the bowl of condoms toward them
start to respect youself sugar
learn who you are
and then start looking

Jess Provencio lives in Los Angeles with her wife, four cats, three tarantulas, and fish. She is a supervisor at a coffee shop and a substitute English teacher. Her goal is to get tattoos in as many languages as possible.