High Priestess by Patricia Nelson


High Priestess

—a tarot card

Narrow by narrow she rides.
Woman with a blue ball on her head
and a horn and another horn
and a no eye and a why eye
and a new moon through her dress.

To see her you must live in a jar
or a rock or an alphabet
or a planet balanced on a dark.
On a “why” of seed and stem and under
and made of wide by wide.

You must see white to white,
your heart stem paling at the leaf.
Face of chalk and torso hard as tooth.
In the high-low, pile moonlight silent as sand.
Release the cold and falling salt of judgment.



Patricia Nelson is a former attorney who now volunteers with an environmental organization. She worked for many years with the “Activist” group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area.


The High Priestess card of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman-Smith.

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