A Stumble of Horrors - Sneak Peek

Witch Hair Stew

 

Grandma kept the witch hair

In a glass jar at the back

Of her spice rack in the kitchen.

 

On Saturdays,

She would retrieve it

And pluck a single strand

With a pair of silver tweezers.

‘Witches don’t like silver,’ she’d say,

‘Unless it’s coins.’

 

I’d watch her,

My elbows propped on her oak table,

My chin in my hands,

Bare toes swinging above the packed dirt floor.

‘Add a hair and have fine fayre,’ she’d say

And slip the strand into

The cooking pot.

 

The Witch Stew served us until Wednesday,

Though I never saw her add anything

But onions and that strand of hair.

‘No need for babbies to go t'bed hungry

Sucking on’t sheet corner,’ she’d say

And serve up ladles brim-full with beef or lamb.

 

When Grandma died,

My mother put the jar in her coffin

Along with the silver tweezers.

‘To feed the hungry dead,’ my mother said,

And I cried because now

There’d be only onion stew

On Saturdays.

 

 

Down Deep

 

Go down deep,

They said.

So I did,

To the very marrow,

Delving through warmth

And slushish blood,

Syrup-sticky on my hands.

Or like silk through my fingers.

 

Go deeper,

They said.

So I did,

Within organs ripe and ready,

Plump with the change of decay.

I am taken by the beauty of her,

The whole inside.

 

I shine.

 

A Stumble of Horrors

 

When the world

Is a stumble of horrors,

How do we tell our children?

Do we pretend the beasts

Of night do not exist,

And let them fall or find their way?

Do we punt and tell of only

Small terrors,

Leaving them to find true danger?

Or do we give a full account

And earn a mocking eye or scornful smile?

‘That won’t happen to me.’

‘It can’t be that bad.’

‘You’re making it up.’

Each decides their own way,

To help or hide.

But surely,

Rather a mocking eye

And scornful smile

Than none at all.

 

Blood Rush

 

My eye teeth have a sharpened curve,

A glinting angle

That ends in a point.

The ignorant believe

These teeth are hollow

Like the fangs of a snake,

And I use them like a straw

In a juice box.

They are wrong.

I lap with lingual cunning.

I am the cat with the cream,

A drop on my chin,

From the blood rush.

 

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