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Evelyn Culwch Feb 2017
The calligraphy brush my grandmother gave me, the quill
given unwittingly by an idol at age fourteen. There was no ceremony
no reverent handing over, just a slip under the table
late in the evening as I read with wide eyes

They took the deep blue font of a bare bones site
stealing the dim light of a computer screen glowing long after curfew
where words slowly learned to weave together and tell stories
that had never been told before, yet their heart was old and familiar

I begged them not to take the journal, royal purple
and covered in golden characters. When I pulled it back to my chest
the stick of cinnamon tied to the front was broken in two
and the silken cord holding it together was frayed
I salvaged what I could

They left me a broken quill with no ink, candles with no match
the bristles of my brush (forgive me, grandmother) cut short
and a journal where the smallest movement caused another page to flutter
uselessly, helplessly, to the floor

What could I do but start from the beginning
take back what they stole, the ink and paper
cut new bristles from my own hair
and write on
Evelyn Culwch Aug 2016
The silence is the worst part.

Silence after the storm, when all is eerie quiet
and you wonder if it would be too cliché
to wander out and survey the damage, murmuring platitudes
to nameless neighbors

Silence in the night, as you lay awake
and the shock of a train whistle like a dying candle
echoing in your head long after
the train has gone

Silence when you ask them if everything feels wrong
and your breath won’t come in the hour-long seconds
before they answer you, it does
the world is falling apart

Realizing that I loved you, but was not
in love with you, was the worst
of all heartbreaks.
Evelyn Culwch May 2016
Lady, they tell me not to see your face. Tell me
if I was not meant to see you, why does your smile
ride on the wind? Why would your laughter shine
in the pink flowers that creep along the front walk?

They find you in the grottoes of Lourdes, on the hills
of Fatima, and burned into the hallowed grilled cheese of Hollywood, Florida
but balk when I find you in the whisper of rain. They blanche
when I find you in the first heady sip of coffee at midnight.

Most holy event, where you show your visage in faded lights
to little Lucia or Bernadette – tell me, when did you lose
your ghostly form? Were you tired of the heavy robes
they dressed you in? Were you tired of the name Maria?
Were you happier as Arianrhod or Demeter, Sigyn or Xiwang Mu?

Do you wish we had never named you?
Evelyn Culwch Mar 2016
The silver doe stays just in sight
                                    just out of reach

She moves gracefully
as you stumble after
always thinking this time
                              this time
                              this time
you will grab the white tail

that you can reach out and

But just as you make it
she bounds away
and you are bound by a tether
of plastic and chrome
blue forest     blending into
blue walls      blending into
blue ceiling   blending into

Maybe next time.
I really hope the formatting stays in place. Fingers crossed.
Evelyn Culwch Feb 2016
The invitation comes
in the form of a hotel room keycard
The venue
a back hallway where a half dozen gather
a playlist from Spotify

The high priestess officiates
and the priest in a belly dancer’s outfit
ties a silk ribbon around the happy couple’s hands
a fine pagan tradition
Giggles over his jingling bangles
set the mood

Afterward we go to Rosa’s
still dressed in our finery
(except for the priest
who has found a sweatshirt)
The happy couple share a margarita
while the rest of us dine on tacos and empanadas

In the room we share with the new spouses
I rest with the best of royalty
By midnight
I am asleep on the priestess’ lap
A late wedding present for Vex and Sarah. Some details changed through creative license, I hope you guys don't mind! I shared it with my poetry class and they all seemed to like it (except for one, who didn't hear my explanation and thought it was satire; clearly he doesn't know how to party).
Evelyn Culwch Jan 2016
O husband, behold the marks that mar your handsome face!
The angry red where poison left its sting,
Where my arms trembled.
Where I failed to save you,
If ever you were mine to save.

O husband, remember when your eyes first met mine!
We were so young,
When we married beneath the world tree.
When we danced among cowslips and primroses,
Like life would always be dancing.

O husband, think fondly on the first child!
Meant to be a great warrior,
Born as night broke into dawn.
Born a prince who would never be king,
By no fault of his own doing.

O husband, think too on the second son!
The magician and scholar,
Gentle in thought and action.
Gentle in word and deed,
That innocent youth.

O husband, cry for that betrayal!
The punishment passed down
By highest authority and greatest king.
By queen who shared my lineage,
Who in punishing you punished us all.

O husband, forgive my tears!
Those that drip down my face,
Landing on our dirtied robes.
Landing on your ashen skin,
As cooling as the poison is hot.

O husband, my strength grows weak!
She the always faithful,
My arms burn with the weight of two small corpses.
My arms sing with the agony of venom,
Fingers trembling where they grasp the golden bowl.

But O husband, I shall never leave!
Faith unwavering I sit by the eternal flame,
My husband the Silvertongue whose voice has long gone out.
My husband the Sky Traveler, who now lays bound to the earth,
I shall hold the bowl unto eternity.

O husband, behold the marks that mar that handsome face!
The angry red where poison left its sting,
Where it is soothed by the tears from mine own cheeks.
Where I failed to save you,
If ever you were mine to save.

— The End —