BLACK ANNIS ON THE BANKS OF THE SOAR
They wouldn’t look for me in water
so the Soar is rarely out of bounds.
Still, I stick to the lanes, putting on
the murky blues of cobbled-dappled
half-light, the ancient bits of grit from
my skirts of hide and bone
fouling the just-swept streets with
memory of menace, augury of crone.
The bright things rustle past, enfolded
in the muscles of their youth, smelling of
aspiration and appetite, heads bowed
by nightfall, the glint of my sudden nails
eclipsed by the hurried weather of their steps,
my pointed age blurred as they startle into
unexpected swerves, sensing their own weakness
in the bleakest corners of their limber nerves.
The Riverwalk is just a fret of oak and ash
and intemperate blotches of scuffling
in the swaying hazel copses near the verge
of path and marsh. There are only the grubbing
lovers that remain, twigs and damp heathening
their hair. They rise up sharply when I scrape
my teeth against the blue and gentle after-hours air.
I lick fear and midnight from where their breath has blown
and dissolve into the once and future lair
of their own half-forgotten, half-envisioned dreams.
Kate Falvey's work has been published in an eclectic array of journals and anthologies; in a full-length collection, The Language of Little Girls (David Robert Books); and in two chapbooks. She edits the 2 Bridges Review, published through City Tech/CUNY, where she teaches, and is an associate editor for the Bellevue Literary Review.