The Witch and the Wasps

Yesterday, I made notched cotton reel
and candle tanks and tied on each
a little waxy sack.

In awe of their extreme anger
I knew from the first, I’d use the wasps,
that’s why I hid them in a drawer
with pens, spells and assorted rubber bands.

Tonight I let them out.
On charge, without goodbyes, the yellowjackets boarded, driving past my face,

towards
the last August light.

Flies and bears would
never do. Badgers are all used up…

Yes, it is high time for those
wood chewing, stripy jacks with
their dripping oviposters
to fly,

taking away our anxiety, etched yellow, in their little waxy sacks.

Merchantesse

Some would say the woman with long red hair merely sells reclaimed clothes; she doesn’t call out her wares; doesn’t lean on people to buy unwanted goods; doesn’t exclaim ‘beautiful’ when someone tries something on; doesn’t cluck, smile or pamper. She sits quiet, still and reading outside her stall, waiting for people to find her and buy her merchandise.

But to those touched by the butterfly’s wings, clothes are jewels. And when I sat at her feet for the seventh year, she may have recognised my aura and, I am almost certain, told me a tale.

“I dig these clothes from gold mines, I steal these beauties from the washing lines of kings, in my cave I keep silver spiders aweaving silken webs, I sweep dew drops from fresh smelling early morning grass and stitch them on as sequins, I snip vivid rainbows with scissors as sharp as words and hang them upon angels to ascertain the fit.

“And more than this,” she said; “my buttons are the imaginations of wise men mistaken for fools, my wool is wound by storytellers, my pockets are filled deep with the rich promise of new life and my sleeves are as long as the breath of wind. My shoes have travelled the loaded road of dreamers and collected the heavy dust of prayer.”

I went to the rail where the clothes were hanging – cerise, rose, pitch, scarlet, emerald and indigo. With new eyes I saw each crease was a quest for answers, every seam was a river, decorations were celebrations, slips and tears were crags and ravines and hats were mountain peaks.

As I paid for my chosen garment with a poem, the woman with long red hair raised her eyes in slight acknowledgement and turned back to her book as though she had not uttered a word.