For Beltane

Shy not —
— the gods do remind me—
from the pleasures of physical things.
To lay kisses upon his body
Is to lay garlands of jasmine
Upon the altar
To breathe in the musk
Of his hair as through it I comb
My fingers
Is to pray.
We are sacred —
— the gods do remind me —
For Beltane.
For the gods remind me
The times they lay flowered garlands
Upon each other’s breasts—
Even with claws
And fangs
Be we sacred
This Beltane.

“Recall you now,”
battle-scared and fraught
Angrboda sighs
Cheeks once ruddy
Now colored rosy
Dark auburn eyes
Lightened by dreaming skies —
And thus her story unfolds.
Young Loki all slender like a nymph
In the woods —
And She, huntress
All coiled in muscle
All striped in scars
All painted by wolves—
Found Him there.
Their kisses were rimmed by teeth
Like ours
As she spread upon him
Little bruised rose petals
And he drank from her lips
The wine of witches.
Such caresses
Down by the riverside
Un-shadowed in dappled sun-light
For no one knows shame here
The forest can never
And I — I tear at him
With fingers like claws
As though I could break him open
And crawl inside —
All the closer to be
And we, our own sacred sacrifice
On this
Our Beltane night.

Or come that time
Down by the city’s fringes
Our fair-faced Loki found
Sweet small Sigyn
Playing in the purple bells.
She was adorned
Black hair all woven through
With green lacy grasses
And silk violent flowers.
And came He down by the creek bed
To lift her up high
Arms spread wide
Like wings, with which she’d fly—
Even such orphans can touch the sky
And with all that laughter
All that quiet, secretive laughter
All those gaudy, boisterous giggles
Behind cupped hands
And flushed cheeks
And pupils dilated wide
Like starry night skies
He wove crowns of flower into her hair
And warmed her chilled skin
With fingers alive with fire
His kisses on her cheeks
So well received
Like plums growing ripe on the vine—
She plucked them.
Made Him Hers
And danced such magic on his back
With touches light as dandelion seeds
For delighted Beltane eve.

And we
are here
Where the gods remind us
To shy not
from the pleasures of physical things.
For to lay kisses upon his body
Is to lay garlands of jasmine
Upon the altar.
To receive his lips
Is to welcome the divine —
To hear the rush of his breath
And heart
Is to sing the songs of gods —
To breathe the musk
Of his hair as through it I curl
My fingers
Is to pray.
For we are sacred —
— the gods do remind me —
On Beltane day.

[Tahni J. Nikitins is a student of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing. In fall her essay “The Deconstruction of Narrative Framing in David Markson’s ‘Wittgensteins’s Mistress’” will be published through the department of comparative literature’s annual journal Nomad and she plans on finishing her degree in Sweden. Some of her fiction and poetry has been featured in HuginnLilith: Queen of the Desert and Unto Herself: A Devotional Anthology for Independent Goddesses. She can be found at and]