Sycorax Awaits the Birth of Caliban

by San­di Leibowitz

spine grows soft like island pine;
ankles swell;
breath comes short;
blue vines of veins
trel­lis my trunks.

hagseed thumps,
kicks its heels
as once I did mine in Algiers,
wid­ow-wild, before this sowing
unmag­icked me. 

I still could coax the comelies,
glam­oured to unsee
raisined dugs and loose teeth slanty.
Syco­rax has herbs turns
all us girls buxom
but some­times didn’t even need ‘em;
these mans can see past any fault if given
the lit­tle mag­ick of groin honey.

not mar­ket crush I miss
but brass­lamp­s’ dazzle,
car­da­mon whiff,
the oud and tambourine.
here be better,
no hate­ful human yaps,
no mans­tench, but
blue coves cool for sinking
sweat­ing hagflesh into.
here polite palms bow me lady.
Syco­rax be island’s queen,
no sol­diers to drum her
out of tav­ern­s’ doors
or club her bones. 

o brave new world,
that has no peo­ple in it!
only night-padding wolves,
owls moony-eyed,
prick­ly ’pines of savory meat,
crabs beetle-bummed,
and flit­ty spir­its I call up
to hum and sing
when mem­o­ries grow gnawsome.
here winds be tame
and summer-sweet
and there be plenty
fish to eat.

I lean against this
cedar with relief,
watch the waves,
wait to whelp and
won­der what fruit will fall
from this me tree.
will it have bright eyes brown
like smooth hipped sailors
or hot red wings,
sweet pierc­ing fangs?

I, dam of you unborn,
do promise now to
teach you nev­er no manthings!
but how to hunt like hawk,
enjoy devour.
words be honeypoison,
net you, harm you.
bet­ter know catchings
of cun­ning conies,
roots to heal hurts.

mean­while, I rock you moon’s eye
red from dream­ing hag-hex,
I rock you rivergrowl
and ravensong.
but no more words.

Algiers far’s no longer missed.
ocean mews
my hagseed safe in its nest.

San­di Lei­bowitz writes fic­tion and poet­ry, most­ly spec­u­la­tive, for adults and chil­dren. Her work has appeared, or is slat­ed to appear, in Apex Mag­a­zine, Gob­lin Fruit, Myth­ic Delir­i­um, Nite­blade’s spe­cial poet­ry edi­tion, the Mag­a­zine of Spec­u­la­tive Poet­ry, Aoife’s Kiss, NY Quar­ter­ly, High­lights and Crick­et.

One Response to "Sycorax Awaits the Birth of Caliban"

  • …fab­u­lous words and feelings…!

    1 Pat said this (September 28, 2012 at 3:25 am)