A WITCH IN THE NIGHT

Shefali Upreti | March 8, 2019

There’s nothing in the dark that wasn’t there before.

The silver-rimmed moon, pale-eyed,

watching a passerby, haunting the night.

The twisting, fat-bellied clouds, sailing in the air

with vein-winged insects, and golden tree-tops –

meeting the soft sky. The soft moon, the soft light

like a powdery dress falling over the earth in folds –

like spider webs,

filling my bones

with laughing ghosts, filling my soul

with eddies of longing in the wily wind,

swirling, swooping and aimless –

I shiver.

 

I shiver, and soft breaths kiss my wrist,

etched limbs twine behind the mist,

ankles flash like blades,

the moonlight sweeps in like a spade,

carving sweet things with red smiles.

Don’t you know?

Dizzy moths are only the moon’s puppets.

 

Speak to me in this wilderness, whisper to me

from your graves. Sit by me on the shores of lapping madness,

and tell me –

If you can love me, why don’t you?

If we could do this forever,

why don’t we?

Speak to me until I’m dead.

Speak to me until the clawing winds

come to take my spine, and hang it up like a rattle for the babies of the wild.

Then speak to me some more.

Why don’t you?

My lukewarm blood roils like a primitive impulse,

like a weltering river,

rushing down the mountain.

 

I walk these nights, and the thorns prick my heels.

There’s nothing in the dark besides silver-shot magic,

like bullets seizing my flesh.

 

What am I?

A lady? A queen?

Above me the wide boughs bow.

A witch? A whore?

The mud comes wet and alive between my toes

 

If you let me,

I will gut your grave

and kiss your bones

electric.

You look so lonely.

Why don’t you come closer?

If you let me,

I will feed you the freshest pieces

of my heart.

 

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