Stephanie Tom

The Name of the Future Is Possibly Predictable and Rarely A Delight

There’s an old wives’ tale that teaches young girls
to throw apple peels over their shoulders

in order to reveal the name of their future.
I was peeling apples yesterday and the only thing

that I had done was successfully peel
my own fingers, crimson crescent cuts,

so that I left bloody bruises on the white apple flesh
like flaking skin that falls off under a hot shower.

There was a ripple of pain that I didn’t feel;
here comes the fleeting moment of scrambled prose in my mind,

something about blood and bone and life and death, something about how
apple skins don’t spell out your future, it’s your nerves that prove

whether or not you will carry on, wherever you may go, but that
some things are meant to be left to lay,

or not. The curlicue skin is left to flutter on top of a heap of round scabs
from the peeler – they look like dead rose petals, they’re a bed of bloodless flakes.

I didn’t try to close the wound.


Stephanie Tom is a high school student who lives in New York and likes to scour the internet for contemporary poetry. She writes and serves as an editor for both her school newspaper and literary magazine, and has previously won a Gold Key from the Scholastic Awards for her poetry. Her work has previously appeared in Dear Damsels and is forthcoming in Effervescent Magazine.