Village Woman

by Sara Norja

The wind brings winter in its wake,
breath of ice. When the northerly blows,
people pull their scarves tight
and mutter: witch's breath,
condemning magic-bringers
as winter-wrights, evildoers
whose huff frosts precious rye-husks.

Still they come to my door,
waiting at the interstices
of frozen field, cattle-warm cottage,
seeking from my herb-sprigs and songs
cures for aching bellies, milkless cows,
and unrequited love.

Sara Norja dreams in two languages and has a predilection for tea. Born in England and settled in Helsinki, Finland, she is pursuing a PhD in English linguistics. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, inkscrawl, Through the Gate, and Interfictions. Her short fiction has appeared in Quantum Fairy Tales, Luna Station Quarterly, and Silver Blade, and is forthcoming in Fantasy Scroll Magazine and the anthology An Alphabet of Embers (ed. by Rose Lemberg). She blogs here and can be found on Twitter as @suchwanderings.

When asked to name her favourite fruit, Sara replied as follows: "I find it challenging to name favourites in anything, but now, in February's dreary darkness, I find myself craving a perfect, ripe summer peach — unattainable in Finland at the moment."

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