How to Divine Poetry

Fiction by Kameron Ray Morton

The handles for the divining rods must be made of cypress wood. Preferably, the cypress knees that emerge from the swamps of Louisiana to suck up air and nutrients and look out at the world. Acquire sugar cane leaves from Jamaica with edges so sharp they can cut skin to carve the wood into the right size and shape. If that is unfeasible, use the spiky edges of cotton boles grown in Pakistan.

For the first rod, dig in the brown dirt of Arkansas for diamonds. Take the impure, uncut rocks to a glass blower in Branson and watch him melt and blow and stretch and bend the diamonds into an L-shape, made so the short end will fit inside your cypress wood handle and the long end will extend out parallel to the earth. For the other rod, go to Pripyat and carve off bits of the Elephant’s Foot. Cover yourself in lead, run your hand over Khodemchuk’s memorial, and break into the reactor room. The air will melt the pieces you’ve collected, but you will need a glass blower from Murano to fashion the rod. Leave him by the reactor and inform his apprentice that she is now the Master.

Take the pieces to Chiang Mai and go to the night market. Ask a woman from the mountain villages, a baby strapped to her back while she sells carved frogs, to assemble your divining rods. Watch as she carefully fits the melted diamonds and the irradiated corium into their cypress holdings. Next, take the rods to a sauna in Finland. Strip off your clothes and place the rods in your lap until you can no longer sweat. Finally, travel to Ethiopia and pray to Haile Selassie for his blessing. Only then will they work as intended. Otherwise, the divining rods will only find water.