Sycorax Awaits the Birth of Caliban

by Sandi Leibowitz
(USA)

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)