Prometheus didn’t see
and when she was
gone, every other night he welcomed
whisky vultures to help his liver
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,
have to kill. Satisfaction
comes only after blood
cools on the windowsill.
Image via space.com
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.