BEFORE THE BATTLE



BEFORE THE BATTLE, by Vonnie Winslow Crist:

On this witch-kissed morning,
as I trudge northward,
dampness frizzes my hair,
worms its way into my joints.
Beneath winter clouds
draped like dark cloth above the trees,
an unkindness of ravens descends,
bickers over a half-eaten carcass.

At my approach,
the feathered trio complain,
rise to an oak limb,
cackle when my stiff fingers struggle
to free my cloak from a thorny branch,
mutter when I slide blade from its scabbard,
and tilt their heads
when I say a prayer to the Morrigan.

Before joining
my cousins on the battle plain,
I glance again into the ravens’ sullen eyes,
then turn away —
for there’s an ugliness in their stare
that makes me feel
like someone is digging my grave.

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Vonnie Winslow Crist, MS Professional Writing from Towson University, has had speculative fiction in print magazines: Tales of the Talisman, Ethereal Tales, and Cemetery Moon; online: Echelon Press eShorts, Aoife’s Kiss, Ensorcelled Magazine, and www.spacewesterns.com and in anthologies: Dragon’s Lure, When the Morning Stars Sing, and Dia de los Muertos. Her speculative poems were recently printed in: Champagne Shivers, Illumen, Scifaikuest, Ancient Paths, Sea Stories – Hibernal 2009, The Loch Raven Review, and EMG-Zine. She is a columnist for Harford’s Heart Magazine, an illustrator for The Vegetarian Journal, editor of The Gunpowder Review, and a contributor to Faerie Magazine. She lives in a rural area of the USA, dislikes cell phones, and is certain that: “The world is full of mystery and magic. We just need to look, listen, and believe that wondrous things are still possible.” For more information: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com
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