Liz Kay


The first spring lamb was born blind, and before the days grew
full long, three women died in their birthing beds—one
we buried with her belly still large, the babe stuck tight
inside her. Midwife said must be a witch in our midst
twisting shut the wombs with some black, black magic.
She made a bottle to ward her off, pissed into the glass
and added clippings of all our nails and hair. For each of the children
to die since Yule she dropped in a metal pin, seven
in total. Then through a heart-shaped scrap of leather
she pushed an iron nail, dropped it into the bottle
and sealed it shut. They buried the bottle in the center
of the village, and that night as I lay in my narrow bed, I felt
a dampness on my sleeping dress—a tiny hole, a pin-prick,
and from it a trickle of blood spilled out.

Liz Kay is a founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and the journal burntdistrict. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Willow Springs, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Sugar House Review. Her debut novel, Monsters: A Love Story, will be published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in 2016.

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