(For Marian in the ICU)


Wendy Howe


A  dark bird lands in the leafless tree
with a berry in its beak,
a bitter snack. In the old tale
a fairy’s bane. The fruit
neither red nor black
but  maroon –like something that bled
in her brain causing
the closed eyelids, the voiceless tongue,
the theft of awareness
that leaves a woman sleeping
and hooked to spindles with paper rings.

Around her, the municipal clocks
have not stopped ticking. Daylight
still unravels with the chill
of   late winter;  and the city spins
its thread into a pattern
of people working, walking dogs
or watching crows suture the sky,
the long river glittering beneath
half frozen and half- alive.



Wendy Howe is an English teacher and freelance writer who lives in Southern California Her poetry reflects her interest in myth, diverse landscapes and ancient cultures. Over the years, she has been published in an assortment of journals both on-line and in print. Among them: The Linnet’s Wings, Ariadne’s Thread, Mirror Dance, Strange Horizons, Niteblade, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Scheherezade’s Bequest, and Yellow Medicine Review. Some of her latest work will be forthcoming in The Peacock Journal and Poetry Pacific.