Three New Poems by Bernadette McComish




Prometheus didn’t see 

her coming 

and when she was 

gone, every other night he welcomed 

whisky vultures to help his liver 

forget immortality.


Easy to say she knew what she was doing,
blame her 

for opening. Even 

with all the gifts 

of the gods she could not know.

She was not crafted 

from clay, not mud like Eve,
she was stolen fire, 

retribution dipped in Cupid’s

poison, the perfect punishment. 


Even after the buzzard was slain, he returned 

to the same rock and broken 

chains, not looking for hope 

but for her and the home she kept

in the box. 





Never Cast a Love Spell on a Waning Moon


Never say, you want 

him back. To change Love’s mind

you must sacrifice a chicken, the heart 

of a black cat killed at the new moon. He was unkind— 


murdered a glowworm,  said goodbye 

by a bridge, and now to get what you lack, 

unbalance the universe, what will you try? 

Will you eat periwinkle and worms, burdock 


or columbine? Hang a black 

toad by the heels, collect venom 

in an oyster, mix ale, marigold, and rosemary balm 

to rub on your breasts? Scream his name


while you hold his soiled pants 

in one hand and swell 

in the other? Never say, you want 

him back. Any good spell book will tell 


you, magic can get him through the door

but only after you don’t want him anymore.





Because You’re Not Mine


Another man sleeps

in my bed— a loaded gun

to protect me. Blow for blow 


I’ll get you

back, get back at you, 

bring you down.


To right balance

the recipe for retribution 

must be exact. 


Come to the kitchen,

I’ll give you a dose—

scratch off your scabs 


boil them in a sauce pan;

it’s going to hurt,

poison doesn’t 


have to kill. Satisfaction

comes only after blood 

cools on the windowsill.




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Bernadette McComish earned an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence, and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Hunter. She writes poems that explore parallel realms where fortunetellers give base advice from behind cash registers, and addicts ride subways underwater reciting Shakespeare. Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Sunday Salon, Hakol, Hospital Drive, Slipstream, Storyscape, and she was a finalist for the New Millennium Writers 41st poetry prize. Her collection The Book of Johns, is forthcoming. She teaches High School in Los Angeles, and performs with the Poetry Brothel curing one John at a time with words and glitter.


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