You Wicked, Wicker Man
The queen awakes in pre-dawn’s syrup darkness,
breaks her fast with milk and honey,
dons her beekeeper regalia and makes for the apiary.
Born of necessity, she hides her body from human eyes
under linen tunics and wicker masks
yet she bears no shame, hates no hallowed horror,
no stinger, antenna, or proboscis.
She fondly recalls her rending metamorphosis:
how her wings tore through her shoulders
how her fuzzy body shed its human skin,
an exuvia of rice paper.
Now she cares for her bees and awaits for the hatchlings
in hexagon honeycomb sweetness, her hive children
who will join her in humanoid form
to repopulate the ravaged village,
which she will rule with golden crown and scepter.
Down in the lavender field, in a pine forest
of his own making, the wicker man
rips out his straw and wood-wool stuffing:
she loves me, she loves me not.
Although the wicker man wears a thorn crown
fashioned by the local boys, he is no king or prophet,
no drone fit for a queen of her buzzing magnitude.
But, by the mold of his straw head, the holes in his plaid shirt—
he wants to be.
At nights he dreams her cloying honey
smothers his mildew stench.
He sings, of wind and moonlight, bleached, weatherworn
and so filled with love he could fly
with the crows nesting inside him.
The queen watches her scarecrow from a distance,
through compound eyes.
She smiles, licking royal jelly from her lips,
dreaming of straw against her ocher fuzz,
of the wildflowers growing over his heart.
Soon, my king, she thinks. Soon, my wicked, wicker man.
The Dawn, the Dusk
He brings me tasty morsels in his beak
in the same fashion that I carry the dawn
and he, the dusk
every day without fail across the firmament.
I open wide and let him feed me,
curious about his sundry offerings.
Down my throat they go:
honeyed dormice and human silver tongues,
black holes containing multitudes and singularities,
nebulae full of infant stars,
and something else, something I cannot place.
I hack up a pellet
of bones and antimatter, indigestible.
And something else, something that my talon picks apart
my breath wheezing as I watch it unfurl:
one of his own tail feathers
dipped into the sky-inkwell of our spirit realm;
a sign of devotion for all our days.
Yes? he asks, perching on my willow bough.
Yes. Until we are sucked back into the cosmos
from whence we came.
Until dawn and dusk become obsolete,
and our sky’s ink runs dry.
Avra Margariti is a queer author and Pushcart-nominated poet with a fondness for the dark and the darling. Avra’s work haunts publications such as Vastarien, Asimov’s, Liminality, Arsenika, The Future Fire, Love Letters to Poe, Space and Time, Eye to the Telescope, and Glittership. Avra lives and studies in Athens, Greece. You can find Avra on twitter (@avramargariti).
photo by Irina Krutova and Rafal Bartoszczyk (via unsplash)