She would keep a mug of scalding hot water
right next to her coffee cup as she read in the morning.
She would not stop reading, but absentmindedly,
she would reach down to her calf,
pluck a flea and drop it into the mug of water.
When she reached the end of her coffee mug,
her reading time through,
she would look into the mug of what was now
a lukewarm flea graveyard.
I wonder if, when she counted the number of fleas
she ever read the pattern of their bodies in water.
If she ever, like a fortune teller looking at tea leaves,
read her sad future there.