This flask is more than glass.
A witch will etch the symbols and sigils
brew the tinctures, burn the acrid herbs
Chant the secret names of time.
She suspends the bottle in the light
lures the ghost to its new home.
The essence swirls in, unaware
fills the curves of purpose and design.
As the soul settles, she stoppers the bottle
guards against drafts and errant hands
seals with substances better left unnamed
contains the very nature of a man.
Suspended by silver links of chain
the ghost bottle sways.
Powdery residue and bone chips
reveal nothing of the past.
My talisman is more than glass.
The light reflects little of your soul.
I search for secrets in remembered whispers
the semblance of your smile, your sparkling eyes.
Symbols unravel to senseless lines.
The light reveals no hidden future
nothing snared, no precious words.
The glass pales and light falters.
I clasp this amulet filled with sorrow.
Your spirit has flowed beyond the brim
unhampered by all elements.
I have enclosed nothing but a dream.
This vessel is more than brittle glass.
It is tissue and bone that holds my thoughts.
No more can it contain my memories
than a spirit bottle can hold your soul.
[Colleen Anderson has published over two hundred pieces of poetry and fiction in such publications as Crucible (2nd place winner), Witches & Pagans, They Have to Take You In, Polu Texni, and Cicada. She is an Aurora Award finalist in poetry and a Rannu competition place winner. She has new poetry coming out in OnSpec and Burning Maiden.]