this world is not kind to anybody
least of all witchgirls
mouths like hard candy spitting
the split-tongued language of beasts
hair in elfknots, a scrawl of hands weaving
witchtricks, leaving sigils in lipstick on
the bathroom mirrors.
do you want to hear a story?
once upon a time there was a girl
named for a flower the color of halloween
if she kissed you and her tongue touched yours
you’d speak only truths for six hours afterwards
as the words left your lips they would turn into diamonds
or toads, depending on your nature. well
you can imagine how that went down
they ran her out of town, hunted her with
baying brindled hounds, spotlights, a cast net blessed
by saint benedict.
she ran away into the forest
climbed a tree and stayed until she
was hard white bones shot with pitchblende
jangling windblown and noctilucent
and owls made nests in her hair; their eggs
hatched out little plastic animals, golden snakes,
tarot cards, doll parts, sick mixtapes,
a swarm of honeybees that all had her face
plush bodies humming sister midnight
as they picked apart the shells.
the bees built a home in her ribcage
strung their frosted hex-cells starwise
from scapulae to sternum
a droning droneless tessellation
of parthenogenetic worker-queens
tripping ultraviolet sugarhighs
and when they gathered pollen
they carried it in tiny girl fists
back to her dripping hiveheart, that
waxwork thumping bass beats
sweeter than a gingerbread house.
do you want to know a secret?
if you stand under that tree with
your mouth open and catch a drop
of honey on your tongue, that night
you will dream your true love’s face.
the room will smell like cigarettes
and pine needles when you wake
and when you lick your lips, they will
taste like cherry candy. just remember:
you can only ever do this thing once—
that's how it works—just one time
and never again
if you taste that honey twice
it will kill you.