the woman who caught a storm in her hair

by Ruby Sara

when she was young, she would sit,
shorn, and imagine its wealth

she kept it bound up at the nape,
all the astonishing weight of it,
bending the willow of her neck

counting charms and weaving bead after bead,
tucking them into its limitless silk

the earth had begun to refuse the rain,
had stopped exhaling its humectant
pulse perfume of thanksgiving —
water sat on the ground open-mouthed
and waited for the eggs of insects, the tongues
of ragged animals, soaked and thirsty

running her invisible, anticipating hands through it

the sky did not submit, sacked
the tent, made us crazy with its
unceasing, drill and bell and drum
(all the shrieking had gone out
of our throats, skin too hot
for thunder)

the same way she would thrust them
into bins of peas at the grocery

she made an arcane twist with her hand,
and it came down, uncoiled, the
serpent of her hair —
sang some song with the devil in it,
mud on her fingernails
(terrible angel, with its eyes of ash and salt;
swan, on the river, wishing lightning into its heart)

to feel their cool, delicious texture, 
to satisfy the begging cells of her skin

the rain stopped, and
we could hear, in the heartbeat silence,

in the wood

Ruby Sara has been and sometimes is a storyteller, a poet, and a theologian. She is the editor of two anthologies of esoteric poetry published by Scarlet Imprint, as well as a regular columnist for Witches and Pagans magazine. Ruby's heart is currently caught between the smoke-wild mountains of eastern Tennessee and the funky badlands of Austin, Texas, and she is particularly partial to plums, from blossom to fruit. Her website can be found here.

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