Oracle

Jacqueline Johnson

for Gloria Foster

Neo and Morpheus are looking for you
in between the in between.
You sit like any wise woman, sister in your kitchen.

Forget the walnut wood table, platter of cookies 
against a corner wall like some kind of altar
where all truth is dispensed.

No time to play with cowrie shells, tea leaves, coins,
objects of performance; no time for ritual either.

You stand cooking much of nothing, offering 
neither tea nor directions to the way.

What light can you shine into brilliance of an overly lit sky?

Just cookies.  
You offer fresh from the oven, warmed cookies.

It comes down to an ordinary woman, 
in a Marshall’s running suit
gently opening a doorway to the extraordinary.

What Neo wants to know, 
you have rightly already forgotten.
You tell him “Nothing is preordained.”  

Copyright © 2024 by Jacqueline Johnson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 7, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.