I, Wisdom

 

I, the ancient hum roiling the caldron,

you, the humming chef ladling the soup,

broth of dirt clod & moon spit, stew 

of soft bones waiting for names. 

 

You dip, draw up a gazelle 

squirming in its sac 

& a halfborn iguana stargazing 

from the crack along its egg.

 

You stir & up bobs a turtle, 

tiny isle paddling through 

thyme & garlic, scuttling 

over the iron rim onto dry land.

 

You scatter salt, & blackbirds burst

from a flotilla of scallions,

peppering the air with a shake

of their dill-flecked wings.

 

See me, beloveds: Here I am

in the days when earth & sky were 

soup & bread, & I, Wisdom, spread 

the clouds with alfalfa honey & sage butter.

 

Here I am no cackling hag pestling 

poisons, & here is god little more than 

a bright-eyed chef boiling black-eyed peas, 

chanting my names over ripe bones.

Lunch_Time.png

I, Witch

 

In the backyard, a garden.

I tend your roots & herbs, 

weed & sing to the hemlock

I confuse with carrot leaves.

 

Around the house, a fence.

For jackals, wolves, & foxes,

you said—to ward off 

ravening eyes.

 

In the house, a kitchen & library

of your old cookbooks. I scour 

the recipes, yellow leaves sour

with grease & ale, the notes

 

of your sous chefs crowding

the margins. I stoke the stone

hearth, stir the iron pot,

& sing to the larder ghost.

 

I learn to mince & pare 

words, to conjure you 

from sound & copper.

 

I cast Urim & Thummim

& illuminate your answers

in floral inks on calfskin pages. 

I crush berries & mix wine. 

 

I slice open a goat & divine 

its entrails, drain its juices

in bronze kettles, loop its coils

in a silver pan.

 

I reek of holiness, stink of you.

I am the burnt liver on your breath,

the iron haze of stewed blood

pulling past the hearth.

 

Around the fence, the folk gather.

I smile at their glowing eyes & slack 

jaws. They bark for my food, howl 

for my wisdom, pant for my wines.  

 

From the house, I hear cracked 

wood, busted locks, & trampled 

grass. I smell hot oil & singed beer.

 

In the yard, mouths watering wide,

forks raised for your feast. Fire licks

your house, eats the hickory walls,

smokes my meat to a sweet savor.

A Knife to the Night’s Throat

 

from the witch of Endor to King Saul

 

You knock in the howl of night,

bid me drag up a dead prophet?

 

Now that your jaw shakes

& your stomach is soft wax, 

 

you shake me down for a séance

to consult a ghost on the future

 

of your wars because your god

won’t answer you in dreams,

 

Urim, or living prophets. So you

camouflage your royal body

 

in plain clothes, skulk to the outskirts,

where people like me still walk 

 

on air, slip through cracks

into nether-towns, & hold 

 

the shells of the dead to our ears, 

where skulls receive their spirits,

 

share lentil cakes & beer, 

& expose the fraud of time. 

 

You ask the witch you muzzled 

to call up an authorized prophet 

 

of the god you said hates witches 

& spiritists. You ask me to ask 

 

a dead man to ask a silent god. 

You hold a knife to the night’s throat 

 

to elicit the voice you gag by day, 

still hot & bothered for the guise 

 

of a sanctioned mouth, 

as if the dead forget the wiles 

 

of kings, as if their bones

won’t know it was the voice

 

of a woman, throat of the moon, 

that drew up a god from soil.

Rebekah.jpg

Rebekah M. Devine (she/her) is a white, queer (aspec) writer residing in Reno, Nevada. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in P-Queue, Rust and Moth, Rejection Letters, and FERAL, among others. She holds an MLitt in Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, and an MA in Biblical Exegesis. She is an MFA student in Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.