Bruxa

My rooms stank of hothouse flowers, lilies overripe, stamens
staining my hands, stiff and dormant in their satin skins.

Chains of ruby bound my neck, mulish diamonds pierced
the hollow of my throat, and I no longer remembered the moon
or my own name.

My sister’s wings beat at my window, her eye a Heart cut jewel,
refracting a crown of cestrum nocturnum, onyx talons, a lost song —

she screamed until the glass splintered, pattered round me soft as rain.
My wings tore through layered silk, and my teeth sharpened, gleamed,
shattered ruby and diamond.

 

[Author’s Note: The Bruxa is the female witch figure of Portuguese folklore. A beautiful maiden by day, the Bruxa is an amalgamation of several distinct supernatural traditions — sometimes referred to as a witch, sometimes as a vampire or shape-shifter, the Bruxa leaves her home at night in the shape of a bird to hunt for human blood.]

[Sara Cleto is a PhD student at the Ohio State University where she studies folklore, literature, and the places where they intersect. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Cabinet des Fees: Scheherazade’s BequestIdeomancerNiteblade, The Golden KeySpellbound, the anthology A is for Apocalypse, and others. Her poem “The Second Law of Thermodynamics,” co-written with Brittany Warman, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.]

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