“After” by Sandi Leibowitz

There were days when the women cast their nets
from the cliffs
and caught nothing but wasps.

There were days when the birds
thrashed broken on the ground,
their songs full of rust.

There were nights when three moons came,
or none,
and the big brothers sharpened their teeth
on the little brothers’ bones.

There were dawns when the stones
grew mouths, their complaints unceasing,
and we feared to leave our houses,
for their contempt stole our will.

For three months, the sun refused to rise,
it hated us so.
But less than we hated ourselves.

Our city was a red city,
our land a dusty land,
our hearts thirsty hearts.

We had birthed it,
this monster world,
and we hated it
but it was all the world we had.

So we rose
and we cast our nets
and we closed our ears
to the stones’ grievances
and the birds’ screams.
We drank from the bloody rivers.

And we sowed the dust
with dead seeds and promises.


Sandi Leibowitz, author of The Bone-Joiner and Eurydice Sings, writes speculative fiction and poetry that may be found in Devilfish Review, Metaphorosis, Liminality, Mythic Delirium, Polu Texni, Silver Blade and other magazines and anthologies. Her poems have won second and third place Dwarf Stars, and been nominated for the Rhysling, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net awards. She recently created Sycorax Press, a micropress devoted to mythic poetry, and is working on the first issue of the related online magazine, Sycorax Journal. An elementary-school librarian, she also sings classical and early music. She lives in a raven’s wood, next door to bogles, in New York City. Sandi invites you to visit her online at www.sandileibowitz.com.

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