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  • Writer's pictureHolly Payne-Strange

The Cards

The Empress.

The Ten of Cups.

The King Of Swords.

First comes a strange sensation,

Like a poppy racing to bloom, 

Or a present hastily unwrapped

Somewhere in my chest. 

It feels 


An entire field inside my soul 

Exploding in sunlight and gorged on 

Demeter’s laugh. 

Then electricity.  

A shiver down my spine and a tingling 

Through my fingers.  

Bolts of Hermes’ speech

Made into silver glitter 

That catches in my hair 

And sings through my bones. 

That's when I know I’m ready 

To pull the first card.  

Whispered wisdom from awe-inspiring Olympians.  

When I’m done I find I am often 

A little out of breath 

Slightly light-headed.

Eventually I have no choice but to step back, 

Come up for air,

Find comfort in my smallness 

And stillness amongst the sparks. 

It can be dizzying sometimes,

To rock back from one extreme to the next. 

But I like it that way. 

Communication with the sacred 

Should be 

A little wild.


Holly Payne-Strange (She/Her) is a novelist, poet and podcaster. Her writing has been described as “genuinely captivating” by LA Weekly and “profound and sincerely engaging” by USA Today. She was also a writer for Fireside Mystery Theater, which The New York Times called “One of the top ten podcasts to bring drama into your home.” Her next novel, All Of Us Alone, will be a recommended read for Women Writers, Women’s Books. Her poetry has been published by various groups, including Door Is A Jar magazine, In Parenthesis, Dipity Magazine, and will soon be featured in Academy Heart, among others.


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