The Holly King

I am the despised brother.
You fur my twig-gaunt body in red robes,
laud only the evergreen of my leaves,
my berries’ brightness,
pretend away their poison,
the points sharp as thorns.
But if you’d truly love me you must also love
the poke of wind’s ice-fingers,
brown grass shriveled over grave-scented earth,
the long, long night.

[Sandi Leibowitz is a native New Yorker who early in life fell in love with Apollo, Artemis and other beautiful deities and their tales and, unlike Orpheus, never looked back. Her fantasy fiction and poetry, mostly based myth and fairy-tales, has appeared or is forthcoming in Mythic Delirium, Goblin Market, Jabberwocky, Apex, Niteblade, Cricket and other magazines. She also sings classical, folk and early music, and performs with New York Revels.]

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