I love Halloween – it is one of my all time favorite days of every year. Today, I have a present for you that is based on a nightmare I had when I was pregnant with my youngest son. It originally appeared in Aoiffe’s Kiss several years ago – in 2008.
The Crow Queen
By Sarah Wagner
She is perched on the middle oak of three,
the one with the view into my window,
holding court amidst the crows,
her reptilian eyes boring into me from afar.
The sickly green of her featherless skin,
dull in the dim light of early dusk,
taut membrane wings stretch to threaten flight.
The cackling murder with their demon leader
plotting something wicked – I can tell.
The Crow Queen cocks her head to focus
that amber-gold eye the size of my fist
on me – on my swelling belly –
pinning me to the wall.
there is madness there, malevolence.
What brings her to my home
to stare at me through windows,
laugh at me through walls,
mock me as I hide behind sheer curtains.
I live in fear of her deadly claws,
her sharp beak ripping open the roof,
skinning me to reach the innocent.
What offering will she have to fly away
never to darken my window again?
There will be no battle between us
no weapon have I sufficient for the task
no demon hunter at my disposal.
I lay a circle of salt
melt down my silver for .22 shells
learn to believe in every God
draw down the moon and genuflect.
Tin can scarecrows to rid the trees
of Her jesters, knights, and maidens.
Bless the oaks with holy water
chant the rites of exorcism.
And suddenly she is gone.
Her absence, her silence
is as weighty as her presence.
Suspicion leaving me panicked,
searching for clues, rhyme and reason
but it is a nest I find cast to the ground
lined with broken shells of the same
sallow green color as the Queen.
I bend to inspect the shattered calcium plating,
so fresh there is still fluid clinging
to the paperwhite innershell,
and the first pangs or labor strike deep and low.