Wormwood

She has black dirt on her face.

The ruins of a garden plucked

for winter stain her hands.

She has scratched that greenery free

and bathed in the empty

soil, praying for next year’s harvest

with touches of bare arms and thighs.

She rubs the flesh of the earth,

places stones in her mouth

careful of her teeth

though she knows

this is ritual.

Her tongue rolls in the grit,

hips turn the ground like a spade.

She says, “I will starve myself for the gods

so I can grow poison in the spring.”

This poem won the first place prize for poetry at the 2008 Lex Allen Literary Festival at Hollins University, Virginia. Since then it was published in The Camel Saloon and nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2011 before finding its forever home in Lupercalia.

Photo Credits: wormwood, Prosperina (1870) Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Published by

jessicahalseywrites

Jessica Halsey lives in Arkansas and is working toward earning a degree in Laboratory Science while she writes books about werewolves and fairies, a well as many strange poems. She loves birdwatching and performing venipuncture. Her spark bird is the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and her house words are, “Is there blood on the floor?”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s