claire holtz

The Psychic Really is a Psychic

She has seen her mother and father
slip slowly into forgetting and rot
 
into old age. She has seen her first
child die in the womb. She cries
 
every night until her husband leaves her.
Says she saw it coming. Says it still hurts.
 
The psychic really is a psychic
but nobody believes her because
 
she lies to all of her clients. She looks
the pregnant woman in the eye,
 
says, It will be a beautiful boy.
He will have his father’s eyes,

his mother’s laugh. She tells everyone
they will have a good life. Many
 
children. Stable work. She laughs,
says, The sex will always be good,

don’t worry, he won’t leave you
for ripening, for growing old.

She says, Don’t worry, you children
will outlive you. Your funeral will be

perfect. Everyone will speak of you
like the first rain after a long summer,

“She was good. Giving. Needed.” 

-Claire Holtz

Quiet Needs

At dinner, Sierra pulls her sleeves back to her wrists
and tells me, “There is nothing wrong with wanting

to be told you are pretty. Nothing shallow about
affirmation, nothing wrong with needing to be told

over and over again, like a forgetful child, that you
are enough, that you are worthy, desirable, wanted.”

I am still learning how to be patient with my body
on the bad days. How to look strangers in the eye

without moving my hands. How to undress after
dinner with the lights on. I have grown out of

hating my body out loud. It is a quiet worry, one I
don’t need the neighbors to hear. And this is why it feels

wrong to ask for a love that I cannot give myself. It feels
like begging– feels like I should be able to feed myself.

-Claire Holtz