a journal of fantastical poetry


by Sonya Taaffe

With a face like a gallows woodcut
and a book of twenty-two names,
your hanging ancestor
looks at me out of Hawthorne,
the minister who steepled his hands at Salem
and died with blood in his throat.
History chokes up its emblems like affliction,
pins and witch-cakes,
chalices, pentacles, prayers.
We walked the wharves among tourists and museums,
shadows cracked into granite and sea air.
The demons I brought to our marriage
rustle like bats in the eaves,
read Kreytman and Margolin af yidish,
accept no one's fealty but their own.

August 27th, 2015

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