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By Jessica Reidy
December, full of falcons
ripping bodies for their infants' beaks.
Fathers preen and hunt poorly
and starving mothers circle.
The translucent skin
pooled beneath my eyes turns red.
I used to divine--flights
and omens slipped into tea cups.
What has me stopped? I look
away from the falcon's trailing
claws ripping slip-streams apart.
When old cards turn an old meaning
I put them away.
The hares take silence as their place.
Arctic foxes keep their fur close--
a reminder of inequality, night, and day.
Owls wear their witches' faces
and I would wear them too--
I could never hide the evidence
behind veils and scarves
like stregha women do.
In the morning, owl
eyes stud their clever skins.
Their husbands beat them blank
again, but surely, magic
could destroy hands and knives
flying through air--change them
to arctic hares racing across the tundra, white
and ready to be devoured.
A walk through the polar forest
turns up a picked skull,
small, with two holes
for front teeth since fallen out.
Jessica Reidy's work has appeared in several journals including The Los Angeles Review, Arsenic Lobster, Frogpond, Moloch, and Ribbons. She is the 2008 winner of the Nancy Thorp Poetry Prize. She has given readings in Ireland in both Cork and Dublin, including the SoundEye Cork International Poetry Festival in 2009 and 2010, and in 2012 at The Warehouse in Tallahassee, Florida.