A Poem by A C Clarke

Witch-Bottle

Mould it from glass thick as its shape

will allow.  Green as ocean fathoms,

or a gas-mask’s insect eye.

Force through the narrow neck –

like stuffing a gizzard –

culled discards – nail-clippings, hair,

a prickle of iron thorns, a leather heart

bristling with pins; the bones of a robin.

Trickle in from the night-staled pot

water you pissed in the small, dark hours.

Add crystals of sulphur, the stench of spite.

Stop the mouth with wax.

Don’t leave a pinhole. Time was, householders

would sneak one under the floorboards,

into the crook of a chimney. Rare

to find one with the seal still virgin. 

Keep yours intact. There’s trouble enough.

About the contributor

A C Clarke’s fifth collection, A Troubling Woman (Oversteps Books), came out in 2017. She was a winner in the Cinnamon Press 2017 pamphlet competition with War Baby. Drochaid, a series of poems in Gaelic, Scots and English with Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton was published by Tapsalteerie in December last year.

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