penelope at midnight

warm and sweet air
penelope is the name this night gives me
spiderwebs drape themselves over soft freckled skin
as i crouch among the ivy

it is not a challenge to shapeshift
though it is a mystery to some
to wear fox-fur and fly with crow’s tar-black tricksy wings
it is not the moon i howl at
nor artemis’ bow or starry crown
the moon is your glowing eye
the moon is the dull and pale white of your
hidden places–you never shapeshifted with me but
with you i became robin and raven, flying so high
while we made love on forest floors, on lovers’ beds of
old growth and leaves that released their enchantments with
their perfumes as they crackled beneath the weight
of my bird bones

“outrageous” i am called at midnight
the greatest compliment, to be so beyond
civilized, like the milkweed and the clovers who sing
in my wild wicked garden, like the crickets and
cicadas who dance among them, screaming maenads

my lord dionysus would be pleased, i think
i run barefoot to join the revelry
savagely joyful; my feet slip, a glass
shatters, and he satiates his own lust for my wine, and
for my body too—it presses against the earth and

the talismans i worked with my hands called for blood
just as he called for inebriation, and flesh, and a smile
to the wind–i wonder what power i must be feeding them
i wonder what cedar means when she says she’ll grant me
calm in thorn-sea and strength deep in the red-black of my
heartwood; while the pine i’ve carved with old sigils from
days long past is the hermit of my garden, and he mumbles
and murmurs, he doesn’t sing like the rain or sigh
like the black death-flowers

we’ll see what magic old man pine and wise grandmother cedar will bring.

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