by Annette Bowman
Skirting the mud marsh edge of Muskrat Lake
My horse’s hooves press into the soft ground.
We move through cattails whistling in the wind.
Birds sing and mosquitoes buzz all around.
Pale ghosts of time past move through this forest.
Branches sway, dry twigs shush, and green leaves flap,
Float, slowly down. I look to the sunlight
For tales of shadows, mischief, and mishap.
She told me rosemary for remembrance,
Graveyard dust to raise the virtuous dead,
Seven silver coins, and moonshine whiskey
for the spirits to be appeased and fed.
Nearing Silver Sands Beach where we first met,
I shiver and feel eyes lock onto me.
I look around and then hear a crashing
Of movement near an old, split hemlock tree.
You’ll come back to me from the other side,
If I cast the circle, just as she said.
I have been lonely without your kisses,
The sound of your voice, and you in my bed.
But will your warmth rise from the too cold grave?
Will you be my love? Or a half live thing?
Am I doing right by your memory?
I sense Observers watching and waiting.
Dragging my heel, I etch in the damp sand
A clockwise circle. I dig a small hole,
Dump in shiny silver coins and grave dust.
The wind howls the pain of a tortured soul.
I say the odd words the witch gave to me,
Take a long, slow swig of the harsh whiskey,
and pour some to the corners of the earth
for the shades without any family.
I pick up the bundle of rosemary.
Dark thunder clouds are forming in the sky.
The chill wind grows fierce and bends the saplings.
First silence, then a voice begins to cry.
I grip the tied, green sprig of rosemary.
What will come to me through the undergrowth?
Rosemary is for remembrance.
This will be something new. I swear an oath.
Annette Bowman is a writer stumbling through the written word and looking for a good cup of coffee. She is from wherever she happens to have landed. Her blog can be found at: www.thestarsarenotmadeoffire.blogspot.com