Dear Readers and Writers,
Here are my selections for the Jane Burn challenge! There were many submissions and I wish I could have included them all. As I read many of them, the theme of women, witches, hares, and magic was strong (like a spell being spoken or brewed). I couldn’t help but think of the song Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves by Eurythmics. It was empowering! But I also chose work that went slant-wise and made me see Jane’s piece in a different way. That’s the beauty of ekphrastic writing – interpretation, translation, revelation.
Thanks to all the poets and writers that submitted. It was a journey down a fantastic rabbit hole reading all the pieces!
Xoxo, Tricia Marcella Cimera
兔年 (Rabbit Year)
This is a year of hungry ghosts--
They chew through hours & walls
& my father’s patience.
But I am my mother’s child;
Spirits are descending around me
As the hares converge.
Trees tremble with anticipation
& moonlit rivers whisper in rapture
At our earthly procession.
Everyday, there is less we are willing to lose.
Audrey Lin 林妍希 (they/she/he) is a queer high school student interested in transnational literature, art, and film. They are based in Los Angeles via the Bay Area and Shanghai. Their work can be found or is forthcoming in Depth Cues Magazine, Beaver Magazine, Eunoia Review, and the lickety~split. Twitter: @audramatically.
Hare’s to You
long sensuous ears
long tresses draped
over your fur, I ride
aback, your muscles
tense under my arms.
We are connected,
charmed, witch to hare,
as one we hide, burrow
underground - clever,
not to be found human
lest they judge us, kill.
Spirit will protect, we dare
at night ride in silence
over-ground flight, kept
safe, practice ancient lore
in making more of us, abide
in secret, we must survive.
Julie A. Dickson
Julie A. Dickson loves writing Ekphrastic poems, as well as many other forms, has written poetry since her teens. Dickson holds a BPS in Behavioral Science, has served on two poetry boards, been a guest editor and submits poetry to many journals. Her poetry appears in Tiger Moth, Misfit, Blue Heron Review and Ekphrastic Review, among others.
Hare witches’ passion,
to live naked and freely,
to rule the heavens.
Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher
Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher has been writing since 2010 and has had many micro-flash fiction stories published. In 2018 her book Shorts for the Short Story Enthusiasts, was published and The Importance of Being Short, in 2019. Her most recent book In A Flash, was published in the spring of 2022. She currently resides on Long Island, New York with her husband Richard and dogs Lucy and Breanna.
Once Upon a Hare Planet
when we were young and internet-innocent,
there was hardly anyone around,
let alone a man to call a rock,
never mind a lover…
Adam was still in a soul-searching hangover.
One day the younger two of us
went to fetch some chewing grass,
but it took us ages to hunt
in these endless sandy hills.
When we returned to our abode
it was already moonless night.
and we couldn’t spot our sister for a long,
so we called out loud piercing the dim eve.
No answer. Echoing. E-e-ve!
Eve of what ? - dawned a spooky thought.
Her voice followed like that of a hover
under some tick cover
and scared the hell of out of us;
then we discerned a panting shoving bundle
and then, alas, we realized –
it was the forbidden knot –
Eve under Adam –
that damn gross first biblical vagabond!
O, how we were shocked, how we were hurt!
We grasped, Eve, using her natural dim skills,
had kept from our eyes
the only apple on the only tree, and once
we were gone, she shared it with him
knowing perfect well its libidinous spell!
Without a second thought - she – the eldest,
the wisest - trespassed our vow
“never to put on this-so-low-a-crown”.
We came when its poison was spilling out,
obliterating any benefit of a doubt.
Our guttural yell thundered as a cursing spell
that echoed and hit the whole planetary pit,
but all it did was suck the thrill
and pollute our chaste free will.
Rage turned into fury.
We hurried our hares in a gallop
to catch the trespassers on the spot.
We devised emergency plan on the run:
my sister would grab Eve by the hair
and pull just one piece from the core –
enough to end her energy flow;
I will aim at his now released alpha wave
and with fate’s net trap him as a captive;
then, we would devise a shared move ahead.
Time was ticking, they were about
to disappear with their hare;
sister was slowing the chase.
I was figuring my last chance –
a slant attack – when I saw
the bottomless interstellar abyss,
and in order to avoid the hazard,
I had to open my secret wings
and fly away with him to planet earth;
the only consolation – it was the spot,
where the apple tree grew in abundance
and there were no restrictions
to grasp and speak its parlance.
Such an interplanetary vision,
for a hare woman, was the magic’s crown;
I was milliseconds from the top prize,
when I remembered that it was,
the very last charm in a hare’s palm,
and that was too high a price to pay.
I frantically tried to sway away,
but to no avail – the cosmic acceleration
was so stalwart it couldn’t alter
the trajectory of my leap,
but splashed me straight
unto the target’s hip...
Needless to say,
we live happily ever after:
he – the apple orchard’s master,
I – keeping out of disaster.
P.S. One thing to make sense –
an earthly life span equals a day
of our simulation existence.
p.s. still no news from my sisters.
Ekaterina Dukas, MA, has studied and taught linguistics and culture at universities of Sofia, Delhi and London and authored a book on mediaeval art for the British Library. She writes poetry as a pilgrimage to the meaning and her poems feature frequently on The Ekphrastic Review, its Challenges, Poetrywivenhoe, and the anthology Caged Blossoms, among others. Her poetry collection Ekphrasticon is Europe Edzioni publication, 2021.
Up and Away Beyond the Dark.
Note: this story alludes to attempted child mistreatment.
Olive dreamed frequently of rabbits. Hares to be exact, with their long, velvet ears and twitching, curious snouts. In some of her dreams, she rode the hares, going from one to the other as they benevolently tolerated her on their backs. In all of her dreams, Olive was naked. In her waking hours being naked was to be avoided as nothing else made Olive feel so vulnerable, so not in control of her own life. So like the skinned rabbits she’d seen hanging from a hook in the local butcher’s window.
Olive saw her life in black and white. She didn’t see the yellow of the sun or the pinks and violets of the flowers in her mother’s garden, the bright reds and blues of the lorikeets on the fence, or the green-grey colour of her own eyes. Olive would scribble black boxes with her ballpoint pen instead of doing her homework. She would fill the boxes with leaves and swirls and sometimes names. If anyone was looking, they would not recognise the names because Olive wrote them in a language only known to her and to the hares.
The hares kept her secrets. When they felt her soft hands clutching their fur they knew it was time to take Olive far away into a place where her skin became hers to gift to the breeze and the fresh, cool air knowing they would caress her gently and keep her safe. Olive was always safe with the hares and the breeze and the air. They didn’t come to her with the sour, breathy, whispers of her mother’s boyfriends. They didn’t tug at her clothes like a wild tornado. They didn’t clutch at her long, black hair as she rolled under the bed and away to safety into the dust and dark.
One day, Olive knew the hares would take her away forever. The time would soon come when she would keep her eyes closed and lock the door to the rising dawn behind her. The key she would toss into the shadowy remnants of the night and she and the hares would ride away bathed in all the colours of the rainbow she had never seen. In her secret language and for the last time, Olive would scream the names, one by one, and the hares would use their heavy paws to trample them, into the dirt of forgotten memories.
Linda lives in Lake Tabourie, NSW, by the sea. In this beautiful environment, she writes poetry and has recently dabbled in flash fiction. Linda is completing her Degree in Creative Writing at Curtin University and enjoys seeing her work published in various literary spaces. She is a recent Pushcart Nominee thanks to The Ekphrastic Review.
WIld are the Winds
WIld are the winds, and our hares
sister, we will ride and ride towards the truth.
Even if darkness bribes us with stars
and the twinings of our nakedness.
Sumptuousness of darkness
reveals the true beauty of our bodies
The spells we use were found
among the stones, written in riddles.
Revolve in air–each incantation makes us lighter.
We will ride and dance all night long,
until the spell has formed and our enemies
are struck down with the lightening of our glory.
Martin Rieser is both a poet and visual artist. His interactive installations based on his poetry have been shown around the world, including Understanding Echo shown in Japan 2002, Hosts Bath Abbey 2006, Secret Door Invideo Milan 2006, The Street RMIT Gallery Melbourne 2008/ISEA Belfast 2009, Secret Garden, Phoenix Square 2012/Taipei 2013 and RUR at Glyndebourne in 2014 for REFRAME at the University of Sussex. He has developed mobile artworks using interactive text and image for Leicester, London and Athens and exhibited the Third Woman Interactive film in Vienna, Xian and New York. He runs the Stanza poetry group in Bristol. Published: Poetry Review, Write to be Counted, The Unpredicted Spring 2020, Magma 74, Morphrog 22; Poetry kit; Primers Volume 3, Artlyst Anthology 2020. Alchemist’s Spoon 2022, Shortlisted: Frosted Fire 2019 /2022, Charles Causeley Prize 2020; Wolves Poetry Prize 2023, runner up Norman Nicholson 2020,; Winner of the Hastings Poetry Competition 2021.
Harefield's Wild Sisterhood
We must have made quite the spectacle, setting off to Maccy D's in my ancient black Volvo, out of the gate at the front of HWS. That's Harefield Women's Shelter to you. I'd been there eighteen months. I loved it. The name was perfect. There really was a big field and we'd see the hares, well, haring around for want of a better description, out of the side windows.
There were five of us in my car. We'd all gravitated to the Shelter from London. Aiofe and Jelena were like two halves of the same soul, with their pale oval faces and long wavy dark hair. Inseparable. I called them the Selkie Sisters. They'd be having Filet-O-Fish, of course. Never ate meat. Although you'd take them as true sisters they'd ended up in the same place by different routes. We never asked each others' stories. One look into their dark eyes told you they'd both been through more than enough.
And in the back with them, elbows flying, was Adeola. Every time she walked to the shops kids chased after her chanting “Voodoo! Voodoo!” She just laughed her big, rich laugh and shouted back "Better watch out else I'll put a spell on you!" She was singing - really belting it out - in the back seat, headphones on, shoulder-rolling. "We are family! I got all my sisters and me!"
In the passenger seat up front was Maggie. Quiet, middle aged, salt and pepper mousy hair worn long hanging around her face. It hid the scars that way. She'd had her jaw broken three times. Last but not least, me, Kathleen. House mother of sorts. First amongst equals. Head of the coven, as some would have it but I just ignore that sort of nonsense.
I caught this wee boy once outside the Shelter. Brazen. By the fence. Wee eejit. It was clearly marked as anti graffiti paint. It never stops them trying. I remember grabbing the can off him just as he was about to start spraying. He ran off shouting, "Witch! Witch!" Which is what you get called if you are a group of women living together on the edge of town, even if the house's not a rickety wee cottage, just some ugly 1950s pebble-dashed sprawling carbuncle.
And then there was the old lady. She never told anyone her name. Names have power. Somewhere I'd heard rumours it was something like Keziah Maria. I liked that. It had poetry. Her eyes were beautiful, too. A golden amber-brown. Deep, like pools. I could tell she'd seen a few things in her time. She lived in an old caravan in the big field. Pretty much off grid. No electricity. She foraged wood for a bonfire to cook. Water from the local stream. Got the news on a battery powered radio. She kept to herself, mainly, as did we.
There was that one time, though, that had given me the shivers. I was just parking the Volvo by the road and saw fine, canny hare on the other side. I looked right at it and it seemed to close one of those big, liquid amber eyes, like it was winking at me. It was up on its haunches and then started to cross. This maniac in an Audi comes flying out of nowhere, never mind thirty limits, and clips one of the back legs. I rushed over to check if it was okay but it'd gone off into the undergrowth on its three good feet.
The next day I saw Keziah Maria shuffling back from the stream with her water bucket. She was limping with her left leg. She must have sensed me looking over the fence at her because just that once she waved, and I swear she winked at me, exactly like that fine, canny hare had done.
Emily Tee writes poetry and flash fiction. She's had pieces published in The Ekphrastic Review and for its challenges, and elsewhere online, and in print in some publications by Dreich, in Poetry Scotland and in several poetry anthologies. She was delighted to be nominated for Best Small Fictions 2023 by The Ekphrastic Review. She lives in England.
They’re getting ready for the boxing matches
where the winners will take all.
Afterwards, they’ll stand still
for a moment
and sniff the air
to check all is safe
and then they’re ready to roll
so climb on board
feel the wind
in your hair
the witching hour has arrived at last
and soon all will be transformed,
as they spring
in any shape
It’s like magic.
Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Consequence Magazine, Firewords, Vagabond Press, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes Journal. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com///www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/
Self Portrait with Hare
A wild ride through myths,
a maelstrom of fur and glorious hair –
two by two,
except for one,
her familiar, the hare,
is ready to slip out of her grasp
like a newborn
through history’s dark alleys
right into my grandfather’s cellar.
Where, gutted, it dangles
from an ordinary bit of string
over a white enamel basin.
A ferrous smell of blood,
heavy and menstrual
fills the room and clings
to the shadowy congregation
of objects on the shelves.
My baited breath
attends each drip
as it hits the dark liquid,
its agonized timing,
and the sudden insight
into how things end.
Barbara Ponomareff lives in southern Ontario, Canada. By profession a child psychotherapist, she has been fortunate to be able to pursue her lifelong interest in literature, art and psychology since her retirement. The first of her two novellas, dealt with a possible life of the painter J.S. Chardin. Her short stories, memoirs and poetry have appeared in Descant, (EX)cite, Precipice and various other literary magazines and anthologies. She is an occasional painter of abstract acrylics and regularly contributes to the The Ekphrastic Review.
To Jane Burn Regarding Self-Portrait As One Of The Hare Witches
Which is witch -- the she or hare?
Should I wonder? Does one dare?
Are not most women unpossessed
whose fertile loins become the test
of strength to see as heaven sent
the failings mortal to lament
in journey destined to embrace
the conscience sensed as womb of Grace?
Is every woman chosen shape
that soul may change as if a drape
disguising devil's wicked beast
as any creature large or least?
Or...is haunting hare-witch story
merely here as allegory
thinly veiling will and wile
latent as the feral guile
of drove that braves the world to thrive
on dreams they birth and keep alive?
Portly Bard: Old man. Ekphrastic fan.
Prefers to craft with sole intent...
of verse becoming complement...
...and by such homage being lent...
ideally also compliment.
Ekphrastic joy comes not from praise
for words but from returning gaze
far more aware of fortune art
becomes to eyes that fathom heart.
Leaps and Bounds
After the museum Sarah and I had drinks.
We impatiently waited for round two
while the waiter was more attentive to other patrons,
he probably assumed us women of a certain age were
light drinkers and short tippers.
After our second shot of Dewars, no water thanks
I told Sarah that we would go north and join the
Arctic hares that are way larger than cottontails.
Even though too old to consider more litters,
the hares and us would face the prevailing winds
of old age. We’d thump, grunt, sniff
while nibbling tender tips of woody plants.
We would be free of the big city,
fears of vulnerability and young bearded waiters.
We would cover rocky ground in leaps and bounds
while watching for weasels,
foxes, wolves and gyrfalcons.
The next morning, I woke to a headache
filled with flashes, a dreamscape where
pictures of ourselves astride the arctic hares were being
painted by the Inuit.
When I checked my purse for last night’s receipt
I see that somehow, I had in fact
done all right and tipped 20 %.
Ursula McCabe lives in Oregon and keeps the ocean and forest close to her in skin and verse. Her work can be seen in Piker Press, Oregon Poetry Association’s Verseweavers #26, Bluebird Word, Academy of the Heart and Mind and The Ekphrastic Review.
the first period arrived on the day of a solar eclipse
birds becoming louder with dusk
pouring my screams into my mother’s quiet corners
the tiny sounds I made were
the scampering feet of eclipsed dogs, whimpering
light dropped into lush foliage
tree tops embracing it as if to hide their nakedness
the invisible curse of heavens
starts from a dot, it spreads itself in concentric circles
clockwise and anti-clockwise
churning like the ocean that released all bitter venom
gods drunk at the vessel of amrita
the soma rose to its surface, Brahma counted 14 times
then arrived his divine nymphs
then arrived Jyeshta, the goddess of all living misfortune
while the poison bled blue in Shiva’s throat
Vishnu too is to blame, for he delegated his burden towards
earth, trees, water, women
since then, she carries in her womb, breath of a pomegranate
since then, the earth quakes
as a reminder of witches still hunted, rivulets still softly rushing
an affliction still raw, dark, red
Kashiana Singh (http://www.kashianasingh.com/) strives to embody the essence of her TEDx talk - Work as Worship into her everyday. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills from Yavanika Press in 2020 is a journey that unravels memory through 10 cities. Her latest full-length collection, Woman by the Door was released in Feb 2022 with Apprentice House Press. Kashiana lives in North Carolina and carries her various geopolitical homes within her poetry. Her poems have been published on Rattle, Poets Reading the News, North Dakota Qtrly, and Beltway Poetry, amongst others.
Their Journey Home
Soundlessly, within the ancient bracken forest, the Celtic stones roll like giants’ marbles, hushed by a quilt of silence. Above, a hovering blood red moon beckons, peeling back skin, to lay its wailing rawness on sinewy glades of light. Listen to it howl and call. Wind whips the weeping trees and bluebells chime an urgent rhythm. Hark the beat and rhyme! Time is ready to return to your hollow within the stars. Long kept captive in an earthly space, clods of soil heavy beneath your winged feet, you have waged your time below the bitter earth, bringing harvest fortune and riches of crops aplenty.
Caoimhe, Caragh, and Bronagh follow the shining ribbon to the heavens. Be guided by the Women of the Oaks, braided with the moon, and entwined with the ocean’s mesmeric haul. Feel the magic and grace of the gentlewomen who steer your pathway home, joined with you through their veins and quiet touch, like a glove of gossamer web.
Their hair, coils like springs of finest lace and sweeping silken mermaid’s strands drape long above the calling trees cheering your ascent. Listen to their whispered tones of pleasantries and prayers alike. Be not wild eyed at the baying dogs, or singing wolves that proudly slope and glide beneath their guardian fronds, their days of richness yet to be resolved. Melangell and her warriors will protect you from all harm.
Now the soughing of the wind is the music carrying your flight, drawn yet beyond the blood red moon. A mantle of silent stars witness to the splendour as it flows. Farewell and safe journey home.
For a lifetime, Julie taught English. She recently reflected that the students had been teaching her about writing too, so she is having another crack at it. She also paints, often exploring the relationship between humans and dogs.
Self Portrait as one of the Hare Witches
Which is woman, witch is hare?
witch is woman which is hare?
shape-shifting triskele of hares
spinning into infinity
a witch is hanged - a hare dies
a hare is shot – a witch is wounded
trickster whirling between worlds –
Melangell ‘s cloak
released from folds
in Boudicca’s skirt,
transformed by Ostara
a sisterhood of women a leap of hares
a leap of women a sisterhood of hares
witch is woman which is hare?
which is woman, witch is hare?
Sue Mackrell lives in Leicestershire UK. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Loughborough University. She taught there and has facilitated writing workshops in a range of venues including universities, colleges, hospitals and day centres, art galleries and museums. Her work has appeared several times in The Ekphrastic Review and in a range of anthologies including Agenda (print and online supplements,) Fairacre Press, and Yaffle/Dragon Yaffle.
Inside my room in the woods
Shape me into
From the couch
I am cornered
Motionless I listen
But do not hear
I cannot see through
All that life
Beaming into my room
The trees wreathed
By the wealth of sunlight
Streaming through float glass
Switch me on
Shape me into senses
Shape me like a shifter
Then I will see with the deep eye
Hear with the long ear
But to follow my direction
I dream of shifting
through the looking glass
Stien Pijp lives east of the Ijssel, in Gelderland, The Netherlands. Six years ago she and her family moved there to a house in the woods. As a dreamy urban person, comfortable with the rhythm of the city, she experienced nature to be quite unnatural to her and seeks to connect with it ever since. In 2017 she wrote her dissertation Why this now? about the search for meaning in conversations with people with aphasia. She works on and off as a language therapist. She reads stories and poems of friends and sometimes writes herself.
Kyla Guimaraes is a young poet and writer. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and Moss Puppy Magazine. She is an avid fan of knee-high-socks and always has a knock-knock joke available.
Hare Witch Project
In this hurried cavalry
of witches riding hareback,
down they go,
down they go,
woman clutching woman clutching
rabbit, knowing it’s the moment
for fruit-bearing madness,
for chastity going south,
the phallic ears insinuating
onto bare arms and chins,
the women, spooning,
rocking into the ride.
Their long hair astonishes--
gallops from their heads
in whorls and woodland creekbeds
deeply grooved and rutted,
solid, experienced, battle-hardened hair that knows
just what needs
to be done.
Janis Greve teaches literature at UMass Amherst, specializing in autobiography, disability studies, and service-learning. She has recently returned to writing poetry after many years, and is a special fan of ekphrastic poetry. She's published previously in such places as The Florida Review, New Delta Review, and North American Review, among other places.
Becoming : self-portrait
My head never associated my eyes with my body. Rather as sticky papers attached by accident to my face. Big green orbs people praised. If the eyes disappeared so would I.
Do you see the direction of all the eyes as though they are many, I searching the eye, what they are flung to see? Do not let fear confuse you. It is forethought.
If I did not have my eyes, I would not be : visible, loveable. To be as in transitive, needing a looker, not necessary for be, but I did not know that yet.
Do you see how eyes steering from the top look out, look to attach when they could have looked in, how this can distort hearing. See the long stretch of her back body like a vortex
but my ears heard only green orbs, ignored the tunnel: silent, deep behind the eyes, wide open for another language, potent lines of evasion.
Hare eyes know her body like they know winter foraging, wild-like, delicious, see how they sense inner spillage
because here is the messiness. Writing is like this. Words show up but I must whittle, shape silenced somas from my stomach wall, eruptions
so she splits in two. Hare sees her shape shifting, eyes mirage, quiet as they look closer in. This is what she loves about it.
My insides push against slimy protective viscera, the bile of lived experience me does not yet know, but senses. My body knows, and the heart, but the head must learn
how eyes change. Hare is soft, steady. Pain is exotic. I have to be able to touch it. Writing goes there.
Writing is my other body, an – other body. I pull away the one I live in, pick up a pen and there is writing body, peculiar but delightful. Warm. At some point I must put me back
but hare knows inchoate places, fluid eyes, conduits. Her-body wonders if those are for her, if she is for her, if her body is hers, should she take it?
My lived in body cannot cry, but her eyes amaze at all the other body can do. She brings tears to my eyes, left behind by the other, not caught in transition
when hare and her-body meet eye to I. See how her face shifts and her skin holds even as it lets her go
what if my body unspools from pain and shame, if only words bubble to the top, round like the biggest eye, what if I become : paradox, vocabulary for a void, still motion
because there is so much to be seen here in the eyes that have no projections, only directions for flying
my body! Grace for sweet pores, the soft fur of you, for becoming not more nor less than a feral poem, foggy with coven’s breath, shadowy green.
Thomasin LaMay is a happy writer of many things. She has taught music and women's studies at Goucher College, Baltimore, and currently tutors kids with trauma in the Penn North community, where poetry has become an essential tool. She’s published in academic journals, edited a book titled Musical Voices of Early Modern Women: Many -headed melodies, and her first published poems appeared just this fall in Trimble Literary Journal. She’s recently become part of a poetry writing class with Yellow Arrow Press, led by Ann Quinn and centered in Baltimore but with a national group of writers. She lives in Baltimore city with about 500 books, 50 plants, a dog, two cats, and fantastic neighbors.
Dreamscape from the Rabbit Hutch
Sometimes I dream myself hare because my religion put hot wax on my legs and pulled. The incense clings between fur and bone like packing peanuts to glass. I want my body to unravel. I want to find the center stitch and tug. I open myself like a magic-eye poster like a hundred thunderstorms under the gums. Don’t you see the only way out is to build another body? The truth is: I can’t unwrap the verses from your thighs anymore. I molt them myself. The best way to make a new life is to palpate the belly. I become whole when light hits me like a question mark when rain marches hoof-prints in my chest. I only want what I can’t have: ankle into ankle, womb into womb. I can be rum-soaked, I can be ruby-eyed, I can twitch and twitch until Cadbury Cream comes leaking out eyes, sweet tears for the start of the world, the new place where I’ll store my whiskers. Mouth gurgles water and brome to keep the heart turning. O, the things bones can do when they crack! O, the way teeth can sing like claws!
Alena Coleman is a poet from New Harmony, IN. She is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in English and Spanish. As an undergraduate, her work appeared in Zeniada, Asterism, and Laurel Moon, among others. Her work is forthcoming in Sky Island Journal and Notre Dame Magazine. For the next year, she will be teaching and researching in Uruguay as a Fulbright Scholar.
Sun Moon Hand Eye Circle Snake
We grow wings, awaiting the return of the sun,
as branches and leaves dance patterns over the moon.
Ethereal roots weave themselves through our hands
and become imprinted inside our eyes--
alert to the gaps in the circle,
we lie still, shimmering like coiled snakes.
We shed our skins, discarding them like snakes,
and bask in splendor, naked beneath the sun.
We turn our insides out, become the circle--
shapeshifting, orbed, secrets following the moon
through the thousand doors of the cosmic eye,
the lines on the palm of the soothsayer’s hand.
We stand just out of reach, beyond time’s hand,
in the whispering wake of the snakes.
The sky trembles as we gather into the Devil’s Eye,
rearrange the seasons by summoning the sun
to darkness. Who can contain the moon?
The hares alone see everything, complete the circle.
Whirling us in surprise, the circle
weaves a web of lines into every hand,
a talisman of light reflecting the moon.
It collects our beginnings and endings. The snake
trades paths with the afterimage of the sun,
pursuing the geography of the Evil Eye.
Our spirits walk on the edge of the hare’s eye,
while hidden crows echo across the circle,
trying to catch the light, stealing fire from the sun.
The landscape breaks apart, a wheel without a hand,
consumed by the changing riddles of the snake.
We call earth magic by chanting the names of the moon.
Our hares are like ships that sail the moon,
shining in the iris of an ancient eye.
We feast on desire like dreamsnakes,
bending layers of souls into a spiraled circle.
Crow approaches and takes each open hand,
extending its wings to carry us far away from the sun.
Reawakening the moon, we reverse the circle,
crossing the hare’s eye with the left hand.
The snake casts its invisible shadow through the sun.
Kerfe Roig was born in the Year of the Rabbit, and keeps track of the moon from the window in her apartment in NYC.
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit
We wish you well, if you should see us
Riding rabbit, rabbit, rabbit
away from the old, into a new month
We ride for change in our mundane lives
singing rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.
These fine hares take us to magic,
show us herbs and flowers for
healing, rabbit rabbit, rabbit.
We would heal you as well but
you call us witches, and we must escape
into a time and place-rabbit, rabbit, rabbit
from your thoughts of black and white ways.
We share earth’s gray powers you’ve forgotten,
so you fear us-- rabbit rabbit, rabbit
because you do not understand.
We carry love’s wisdom as we ride--
Rabbit, rabbit ,rabbit.
Let the new month bring love to all.
Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.
Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. With the coming of spring she is on the lookout for bunnies (we do not have hares in this part of the state of North Carolina) who may be visiting or even nesting in her backyard. Her latest chapbook, Feathers on Stone, (from Main Street Rag) contains many ekphrastic poems, a genre she loves.
The Hare Witches
We shucked our clothes
Shed hair clips, sandals,
All that was left
Was the flesh of us
Our jet hair running like rivers
Tumbling like witches capes
Down our backs.
We used our sorcery
To get the hares to fly.
They welcomed us on their backs,
Straddling the rough pelts
They took us
Naked and hopeful
Across the river
Through the woods
To our own country
Where like a rookery
We lived in nests and squawked
Being of the darkness ourselves.
Lucie is a retired librarian who loves writing, walking and singing around the Vale of the White Horse.
The Winter Hare
Under the haze of a winter sky
when nothing howls or hunts, the wild hare
rests between the roots
of an ancient oak. Slowly
she sinks into the hush
of her silver fur, waiting for the moonrise
when she turns into her other self.
Not the crone fabled on the tongue
of gossips; but the young snow queen
vibrant and vulnerable -- before she becomes
the woman who glitters in the sheer glamour
of ice, sharpening her heart on frosted spires
that balance the whirling flame of the northern lights.
Now as the moon rises high over the hill,
the animal shifts from rabbit to girl
who glides through the garden in her ermined drift,
a sprig of baby's breath in her hair, a pendant
of mistletoe around her neck. Indulging in the solitude
of a windless night, she wanders toward the wall
where ivy sprawls over cobbled stone Her hand
slides across the leafless vines -- as if she were playing
the strings of a dulcimer. The strains of Lady Greensleeves
echo through her mind; and she imagines a castle
warmed with tapestries and tea candles, cloved - oranges
floating in a bowl of cider and lentils thrown among
the hearthside flames for gazing into the future, for learning
of her first lover. Soon
a morning dove lands on her shoulder; and she pivots
toward the bird stroking his pale body,, wanting to pluck
one of his plumes and a write prayer request, hanging it on a rag tree
in the distance, Yet, she knows such petitions
for immortal beings to turn human -- are rarely granted.
And by the dove's plaintive coo, she knows this moment
of magical peace is fragile, fleeting
as the twilight when one shape becomes another
or the flicker of light in her fingernails. Her dowry of opals
ignited by the solstice moon.
Wendy Howe is an English teacher and free lance writer who lives in Southern California. Her poetry reflects her interest in myth, diverse landscapes, and ancient cultures. Over the years, she has been published in an assortment of journals both on-line and in print. Among them: The Copperfield Review, Silver Blade Magazine, The Poetry Salzburg Review, Eye To The Telescope and The Orchards Journal. Her most recent work will be forthcoming in Carmina Magazine and Polu Texni later this year.
Beware the hare witch
Standing upright in moonlight
her stare both challenge
daring you to come
run with her
into the wild night
where the rules of law
and the ordinary
fades into dark
where the world shines
as liquid silver
beneath the rising moon
when you trade the prison
of your old skin
for something rough
something too clever
to be caught and tamed
running with her
in crazy zigzags
to confuse pursuit
laughing as you
trace your names
in heady exaltation
across the midnight chase
Mary McCarthy is a retired Registered Nurse who has always been a writer. Her work appears in many anthologies and journals, including The Ekphrastic World, edited by Lorette C. Luzajic, The Plague Papers, edited by Robbi Nester, and recent issues of Verse Virtual, 3rd Wednesday, Blue Heron Review. Earth’s Daughters, Gyroscope, and Caustic Frolic. She has been a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee.
She said she’d be wearing rabbits' fur
(which already puts me off) but turns out
it’s her actual body fur
fuzzy over arms face neck
and I wonder where else
so I undress her with my eyes.
And she sees what I am doing. Scowls.
With whiskers! Wow!
Then she softens, twitches her pink nose.
She’s already ordered an espresso for me,
says I figured you for the espresso type.
She’s nibbling a plate of carrots.
You’re not a trapper are you? she asks.
No, I say, but once I was trapped
in a bad relationship.
She cocks a big ear.
Probably bad for her, too, she sniffs.
Touché, I say.
I started as a Playboy bunny, she says.
Now I’m a hare witch.
She studies me like a leaf of lettuce.
So you’d better treat me nice.
Her overbite—those teeth could slice.
I cast spells, she says.
I’m already in yours, I say.
Welcome, she says.
I could leave. Really, I could.
Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book of poetry is Random Saints.
We are the lasses
grass-birthing at midnight,
smack in the heart of vast fields;
our bodies heaving and yelping at the full moon.
We are the lasses
born with our eyes wide open:
left all day in our depressions to fend for ourselves,
we gather for succour at sunset.
We are the lasses
stargazing in hoar frost;
our ears primed for each crack and rustle
in the beech wood; for the leaf-creep of the dog-fox.
We are the lasses,
who stand aloof in stubble,
naked and shivering as the air strokes our skin,
through snow, gales, ice, through fog.
We are the lasses,
who sprint across rutted tracks; past copses,
past gorse, past meadows, past hedgerows;
far from crowds; free from the stench of men.
We are the lasses
raving with each rise of sap,
with the rise of the Crow Moon:
over the dales we will fly,
leaping fresh furrows,
as we race the breeze
to spring up slopes
as we box
for the bloodline.
Based in the UK, Dorothy Burrows enjoys writing poems, flash fiction and short plays. Her poetry has been published in various print and online journals, including The Ekphrastic Review. When she is walking on local downland, she sometimes catches a glimpse of a distant hare.
On a goodbye day
I part the curtain
For a shy horizon
Remnant coffee's fainting scent.
Half a moon glints
Amid black lines
Of bare branches
Bending over the light rain
Held by a few blooms
Coming together of world and the dream.
Aren't they afraid
The hares flying by the wind
Blowing out of witches hair
Turning real the bunnies
That lay by baby girls
Probing fairies, red lips and
Becoming a queen.
The day shall rise nevertheless
As the witches fly wayward
Over the mountains
Seeding hope on the meadows
For one last time.
In regret, in pain
The hares turn into bunnies again.
A single star hide the dignity of dead.
Abha Das Sarma
An engineer and management consultant by profession, Abha Das Sarma enjoys writing. Besides having a blog of over 200 poems (http://dassarmafamily.blogspot.com), her poems have appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Spillwords, Verse-Virtual, Visual Verse, Sparks of Calliope, Trouvaille Review, Silver Birch Press, Blue Heron Review, here and elsewhere. Having spent her growing up years in small towns of northern India, she currently lives in Bengaluru.
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