This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Woman Drinking Absinthe by Katherine E. Young, released by Alan Squire Publishing in 2020.
Imprisoned in the kitchen herbs—
rosemary, lavender, wormwood—
by day I haunt your close-clipped lawn,
the fruiting trees that edge your land.
Sometimes I tiptoe to your window,
watch your children play within.
Evenings you walk out in the yard,
woman dangling from your arm.
Late at night you come alone,
pressing berries in my fingers,
smearing honey on my breasts:
mouthing greedily, you curse me.
Take up your snakeskin now, my love,
twine it among the needled greens,
the nest of wasps, the holly leaves,
objects you hang to guard your door—
when the appointed moment comes,
all charms will fail, fall useless from
your hands: this witch already dwells
within, blue lips telling the hours.
Katherine E. Young is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Woman Drinking Absinthe, Day of the Border Guards (2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist), and two chapbooks. She is the editor of Written in Arlington and curator of Spoken in Arlington. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. She is the translator of Look at Him by Anna Starobinets, Farewell, Aylis and Stone Dreams by Azerbaijani political prisoner Akram Aylisli, and two poetry collections by Inna Kabysh. From 2016-2018, she served as the inaugural poet laureate for Arlington, Virginia.
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