12:3: “Speech of the Witch of the End”, by Brittany Warman

12:3: “Speech of the Witch of the End”, by Brittany Warman
  Clear moon from the window,
  snap dragon night under,
  sweet like lilacs, spring
  coming up the path —
  a girl in a short dress,
  a girl with her hair down,
  wind through and between.

Tell me how you loved her
cracking open, crying,
tell me how you miss her —
roots through her feet,
her eyes lying, dead,
your flowers on her grave,
the air still cold.

Yes, I can bring her
back if you need her —
back through time, reanimate
the sunlight inside,
spiders crawling over her heart,
pass my hand through her,
feel her as you cannot.

Yes, I can take her
body like a fever —
rush her back to earth, let weight
fall back into her with
painful precision,
take your coins, take your word
that you love her, easy.

But clear heart, snapped heart,
I can’t promise you her —
like Eurydice, she might want you
to turn around and see her,
call to you, break the bargain,
plummet back down without you, I
make no promises.

Brittany Warman is a PhD student in English with a concentration in Folklore at The Ohio State University, where she concentrates on the intersection of folklore and literature, particularly fairy tale retellings. Her creative work has been published or is forthcoming from Mythic Delirium, Cabinet des Fees: Scheherezade’s Bequest, Jabberwocky, inkscrawl, and others. Her website is www.brittanywarman.com and she journals at briarspell.livejournal.com. She says:

This poem was inspired by twisted words, Spring, death, and magic. I wanted to engage with mythic ideas of bringing someone back from the dead in the vein of Orpheus and Eurydice — what inspires that love and what that love looks like to someone who has seen it a million times before. I also wanted to use ideas of Spring as a time of rebirth. This poem is particularly playful and sound based in style — I wanted it to seem like the words skip over the page in a particular, strange, and (hopefully!) beautiful rhythm. 

Florero y paisaje by Juan de Arellano (1652) is in the public domain.

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