Two Poems—Gita Ralleigh

ritual for the longest night

night is here & i am opening my door to her,
summoning her in, quelling lamp, quenching flame, 
scattering incense: black cardamom, pepper, clove, black salt. 
i want her to enter in stealth, her feet to claw my threshold, 
moths to hover in clouds about her ebony head: argent 
& sable, feathered gothic, muslin, mullein, vestal, ghost.
i want her smoke not fire, her ink distilled from embers, 
limbs etching the chalked moon, indigo tinting my eyes. 
i jaw my mouth wide to imbibe her as medicine, as black milk.

the embalmer dreams of death

death of gloved palm/ death of cell & stain 
death of taint & harm/ death of stigmata & pain
death of rag & gunpowder/ death of bone & flower 
death of vessel narrowed/ death of breath choked
death riding a buffalo/ death swinging a noose
death hurling a mace/ death of green skin/ death 
of red-fire eyes/ death of boar tusks/ death with its
four-eyed dog/ death as minor god/ death as ruler 
death as judgement/ death as ten gilded gates to the 
underworld/ death as seven heavens/ death in his
ruby-glistered palace/ death in her lapis-lined tomb
death at twilight/ death at dawn/ death at noon

Gita Ralleigh is a writer and NHS doctor. She has been published by Wasafiri, Magma Poetry, Under The Radar and The Rialto among others. Her debut A Terrible Thing was published by Bad Betty Press in 2020 and her pamphlet Siren is forthcoming in August 2022 from Broken Sleep Books. You can find her on Twitter @storyvilled. 

photo by Corina Rainer (via unsplash)