a journal of fantastical poetry


by Michele Bannister

I wonder what ghosts walk in the spring?
- ashlyme
The Mari. Year-kings. Things in ribbons and bright leaves, but the bone is hard underneath; if you push the mask aside, you will always see it. - sovay
The year-king is weak and wistful in winter, berry-bough wreath-bright in autumn, willow-waisted and supple in spring. He stalks summer glades in buttercup and burgundy. This is the season of his high glory: ducking past waving wands of emerging leaf-bloom, visiting bird-families above the browning bracken, watching deep pools fill in sudden sun-showers. The pasture-people make him into his own mask: braid bees and wild thyme in his long locks, gift him herbary honey and roast hedgehogs, pile at his feet high heaps of cicada-chrysalises, gleaming shells of gossamer-bronze lace. But at summer's end, salt and sea pink-stained, the seabird-crowded cliffs sing of his sorrow. All seasons shade into the silence after song; solstice-placed stones take up twilight-chill, the nights lengthen into dark: there will always be blood to bring the year back.

September 24th, 2012

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