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listen, more than a few witches have seen
Leviathan; he’s hard to miss
if you know what you’re looking for,
all oil-slick sinew and chemical eyes—

whispered rumor is that he
favors the gulf because the water isn’t clear,
no good for scrying being bayou fed,

and oil rigs make men believe they are
nephilim, invincible as david until
they meet him and his electric teeth.

Behemoth is also well-known,
her green and looping power tendril taut
all through and up the muscled appalachians,
down to the wildflower prairies.

i have called on her strength twice,
once to protect my body,
once to protect my children,

from the same man.

don’t worry, he won’t bother us again
he knows now that i am not some
Texas limestone golem born
to crumble under salt and tears…

oh, but the Ziz, you asked
about the Ziz.

well.

the Ziz is so rare that
our rabbis and mystics say
they do not exist
except in wild
dreams.

mothers with secrets know better.
i know better.

i saw it on an x-ray of my spine,
while my doctors focused on
rebelling vertebrae—

a soft egg dark beside bright bones,
nestled up against my liver.

the Ziz feeds on my heart, you see,
it nests in a tangle of veined violets
and women i love when no one
is looking.

and one day when i am safe,
when my children are safe
the Ziz will hatch,

feathers will bloom
from my mouth and
on covenant-colored wings

i will
just
fly
away.



Elisheva Fox is a mother, lawyer, and writer. She braids her late-blooming queerness, Texan sensibilities, motherhood, and faith into words. Some of her other pieces can be found in Luna Station Quarterly, Brazos River Review, and Rust + Moth.
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28 Nov 2022

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