writing


The Slake

blood scarlet, spider black, a keening in the wind, nearer – I ready

tall poppies bend heavy, sway among grasses in a farther meadow

their breath becomes my breath, I become moon absolute

Requiescat, soft body waiting, existence, a flame, I burn

a burn like opium night windows reflect flames, winter stars, ice

scintillations, frost glazes glass, crimson silver the sorrow of weary I strive

to keep the lull, the sate, the slake

wholly to regain the sky, to rest in peace, adrift holy








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in The Slake August 2000


New literary publications coming fall 2021



Contents (this page)


The Slake

My Witch

Wake

Novembre

November Sky

Morningstar

Les Rêves de la Lune

Dignity

My Dead

Ghosts of You

Into Thin Air

Sans Mur Without Walls

A Dream Begins

le cœur éteint

Fille

Les Rêves de la Lune

لقد رأيت الحرب

I've Seen War

الشعر العربي والترجمات

Poetry in Arabic and Translation


My Witch

You were sleepwalking under a summer moon

and I followed.

The air filled with violets

when you told me you were mine.

While I was burning pages I caught my feet on fire;

this traitorous world carries some of us away.

A thief of chances promised me the summer sun

and I followed

until I found all there is there

is sand and blood.

While I was burning a man I caught my eyes on fire;

this sacrifice for a mere glimpse of my fortune.

The incessant tide caught me, faithless,

and I followed. I swallowed memories

of your hair in the wind, of wild days entwined like daisies, the taste

of your smile like sunflowers.

I was burning my life and

I was the fire the whole time.

I’m coming home.

You were my witch;


you taught me

there are a thousand moons

and all of them,

all of them mine.








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in Prismatica Magazine Issue 6 Fall 2019


Wake

beneath the reaching hazel tree

a sweet witch's spell we tangle in a summer charm, humming

in her shade then, we sleep

two of us, reaching, winding, wanting

windows wide to white light, curtains fly our same wet German sky

on the down then, we sleep

winding dunes, far north of Amsterdam, we

flee with the wind, with the sea, with the seconds bitter cold, still colder

tomorrow then, we wake








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in Coffin Bell July 2020


Novembre

Il y a une histoire dans le ciel de novembre

d’une tempête d’indigo bleu orageux,

des corbeaux sanctifiés qui volent


pendant que les feuilles jaunes dégringolent

à travers la lumière perlée de neige

contre l’espace violet,

et comme je crie,

je crie comme si j’étais brûlée en cendres,

comme si je prouverais à l’automne que

je le connaissais en son grenat et or ;

j’y étais avec lui,

une fois en vie.

J’étais en vie, en vie.









©Susan Zegarsky


November Sky

There is a story in the November sky,

story of a storm of indigo and grey,

of the way

hallowed crows fly

while yellow leaves sail like pain through pearl snowlight

across violet space

and of the way

I cry

as if burned to ashes,

as if to prove to autumn

I knew her in her garnet and gold,

I was with her, here with her.

I was alive,

alive.








©Susan Zegarsky


Morningstar

Because you said so,

I changed my name

to iron, plate, scrub, dig, deliver, shame.

At first I became a dead bird, hollow boned and lighter

and lighter with time,

then, dried petals, a smudge, barely visible, a

mote of dust, and then, then an ember.

Flagrant, irreverent

particles of me began to flake, to rise skyward, to phosphoresce;

irrelevant fragments fell

back to the earth.

I am coming for everything

you denied me.


I shine above the clouds, above the mountains, above the rain,

daughter of the morning,

my particles becoming waves, bearing terrible

blinding light.

I am the brightest of the stars.

If you see me now, you will see the depth

your darkness buried you.

If you see me now, you will see no more.

Yet I’m still learning to forget

that you said it was I who was the adversary.

My name is now

birdsong, summer sunrise, morning star, blue sky

because I say so.








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in Prismatica Magazine Issue 6 Fall 2019


Les Rêves de la Lune

La lune d’août rêve de fleurs lourdes parfumées et d’oiseaux vivement colorés,

de plages exotiques somnifères et de jardins d’émeraude éclairés par sa lumière.

Elle rêve de papillons de nuit ayant ailes frêles bien baignées au clair de lune.

C’est une symphonie de fragilité, de la vie et ce qui repose en dessous, son contraire.

La lune d’octobre rêve de chauves-souris légères et de trous noirs du temps pervers,

de la chute des feuilles teintées de rouge mordant qui de nuit ont l’air de fantômes argentés.

Elle rêve de nos mondes distincts qui meurent et se réincarnent de la terre fertile au clair de lune.

C’est une symphonie de ruine, de la vie et ce qui pourrait la surpasser, nos envies hantées.

Dans le noir j’ai rencontré un bel homme rusé qui ne rêvait jamais, jamais.

Le cœur vide dans sa puissance meurtrière n’était figé qu’à la colère.

C’est le cauchemar qui rôde dehors, la grande faucheuse qui nous noierait au clair de lune.

C’est voleur de l’esprit à l’âme rancunière, aussi froid et mortel qu’une nuit glaciaire.

Je rêve de ce qui n’a jamais été et je rêve de ce qui ne sera jamais.

Je rêve qu’il m’aimait comme il m’a dit qu’il m’aimait, et je rêve de ce qui ce serait d’être aimée.

Ma chère lune qui rêve les beaux rêves la nuit, je rêve tout autant que toi,

moi, une femme qui dans mes rêves se noie.








©Susan Zegarsky


Dignity


I have wrapped myself in cinnamon and cedar.

I have filled my body with honey drunk by moonlight.

My feet are oiled, henna bloodstained with lotus blossoms, my hands swarm with bees

who whisper, sah, sah, the sound of the wind chasing the sand.

I have eaten gold and opened the eye while borne on the backs of blue scarabs

who summon me, Star of Egypt.

Recounting the days when I was bought and sold,

I throw your lies back to you from the scale, one by one by one,

until my ears ring with the song of all women before me and after.

Floating like myrrh, I stretch my open bones to the bright stars,

to the immortals,

and now I am sure you can never touch me.

Knowing what I know now

I would never let you enslave me

as the price for beautiful days

not even to become the one I am.

Though you tore out my tongue and stole my fingers, yours was a secret I would not keep.








Notes:

Sah, the ancient Egyptian word for mummy, means dignity, nobility.

The Egyptians called the circumpolar stars the immortals; they were always visible, always watching.

The Star of Egypt is Sirius.



©Susan Zegarsky

First published in Cauldron Anthology Issue X Cult Winter 2019


My Dead

Mouth frantically wide, teeth of razor blades, saw blades,

in the night, in my bed, she chews my legs down to bloody raw meat

stark bones between feet and thighs

until she shrieks at me what she speaks I do not know

as her jaws stretch and clack to bite,

but it is pain.

Skin of shadow blue, veins showing through, gaunt and gut-wrenching, beautiful,

he lounges at my door, thumbing thin the cover of a leather journal in wasted hands;

he watches the hours of night and silence slip into early morning,

he watches the dawn come until he fades with the stillness to rays of pink and autumn,

and he whispers to me only,

“Sorrow.”

My dead want vengeance for the ways I’ve made them suffer.








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in The Horror Zine January 2020


Ghosts of You

You left many ghosts

in my care.

You left the ghost of

your voice, your red

rage the thunder in my ears

that shakes me unexpectedly in the dark.

Your ghost comes out of my mouth

when I speak of myself.

Freak, you say, Failure;

those names like curses you spoke at me

always threatening something more.

You left many marks

engraved across my skin, still etched

on what is left of me, on what I haven’t yet peeled away

to erase your touch, your every touch, your marks

the ghosts of fangs

and venom.

You left ghosts of your hands,

bruised the throat of my hope

where you strangled it, wrung it

dry;

your handprints remain

where you twisted my gifts into grievances.

You left one of your ghosts

in the corner, in the space

where I always hid from you

until the day you found me.

This ghost stands there still, still and hot,

all eyes,

the way you stood over me like a disobeyed god.

Your boot prints appear and disappear, laden ghosts

crushing down my bones

to unimportant grime beneath your weight, your weight

somehow less heavy

than the fear tightly packed inside my chest.

You left many ghosts

in my care.

But these ghosts of you

are only half of what you were,

lesser,

only your echoes, your aftermath, the nightmare

of you,

not you,

and this is my relief.








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in The Horror Zine January 2020


Into Thin Air

From a distant life,

from a thousand miles away,

I recall the innocence of your hands;

I remember the way you held onto me as if to keep from falling away,

the way you reached out for me as if to save yourself from drowning.

This is all I’ve saved of an uncorrupted time when I didn’t yet know

your feral malice would sear me into cinders of bone, one day

your fingers would stretch and ache to choke like tendrils of seaweed.

In silence I was nearly tangible

but as I spoke, you alone became immuring stone.

I recall the sharp rage of your hands born

to tear the voice from my throat, to bury me, erase me, snuff me

still, so I,

I dissipate into air, ash, autumn sky.

life slips into the air – blades of yellow leaves rain through slips of perilous sun

someone sleeps on the ground – something slips from my hands

breath escapes, never caught again – they will know you did this

Soon only one of us will drown in thin air and still

love is not war no matter how bloody you make it.








©Susan Zegarsky

first published in Ink in Thirds Issue 9, February 2017


Sans Mur

je ne vivrai que

sans mur sans barres

ni épée ni bouclier

contre tes mains








©Susan Zegarsky


Without Walls

I will live only

without walls without bars

neither sword nor shield

against your hands


A Dream Begins

A dream begins with a young girl who thinks herself a witch,

with moonlit nights and explorations of limitless possibilities,

a sounding of futures so as to plumb the brightest one and shy from the misstep.

So young, she made you charms to protect you, to bring you

happiness, while you stole away her voice and her choices.

She held still when you sliced your words across her skin,

tore the music from the harp of her broken fingers.

She kept smiling, this child, when you hung her.

When you hung her, she smiled for you,

because you were all she loved, all

she knew.

A woman then, she raided the past for the one small thing she’d missed, a change in the air,

a faltering, a feather, for any

card unturned or omen glimpsed yet unheeded,

for the chance to say: Freeze.

There, that. That is what I did not see. That is where I mistook,

where I took

the wrong path, where my gifts fell, where I

failed.

That was long, long ago and her magic was spent. Now the undone bones

of distant melodies poke through her threadbare skin.

The eyes of a thousand birds peer from the weeds of her hair. Sobs

of sorry bees echo beneath her frail mask and in age she wanders mute toward the sea

with blind eyes, no longer smiling.

Or she is simply the witch you burned.

And then it ends.

But the sweetest words are a dream begins.








©Susan Zegarsky

First published in Cauldron Anthology Issue X Cult Winter 2019


le cœur éteint

ni les étoiles qui m’illuminent

ni les brises qui me caressent

ni le soleil qui me sourit

ne me laissent jamais oublier

la souffrance dans mon corps

comment il me blesse à respirer

si loin de ma terre

si perdue dans le temps

tout ce qui me reste

de la vie qu’il m’a volée

les souvenirs qui tombent

du ciel qui une fois me protégeait








©Susan Zegarsky


Fille

Il y a un espace infime en moi sans sa cartographie,

juste un murmure qui fait craquer le crépuscule abricot en étincelles de foudre.

L’absinthe pénètre l’esprit et toute la lumière de cette douce heure est vert-pâle,

même du ciel jusqu’à il penche vers indigo, l’air frais et rempli de violettes.

La tourterelle rose qui prend aux ailes avec les âmes et les rêves,

tes yeux deviennent sombres quand tu rêves de pluie la couleur des mers orageuses.

Nuées comme fumée de la figue et de l’améthyste glissent sur le ciel caramel et on est en vie,

face au sinistre qui rôde toujours le noir. Par clair de lune aux larmes de miel, on met les voiles

dans la brise perlée aux lucioles sous étoiles filantes des yeux du ciel nocturne. Ma vie pour toi,

la nuit j’ai la tête pleine de soleils ; toujours ils brûlent.

C’est pour ça que je veille sur toi, sache que je veille sur toi.








©Susan Zegarsky


Les Rêves de la Lune

La lune d’août rêve de fleurs lourdes parfumées et d’oiseaux vivement colorés,

de plages exotiques somnifères et de jardins d’émeraude éclairés par sa lumière.

Elle rêve de papillons de nuit ayant ailes frêles bien baignées au clair de lune.

C’est une symphonie de fragilité, de la vie et ce qui repose en dessous, son contraire.

La lune d’octobre rêve de chauves-souris légères et de trous noirs du temps pervers,

de la chute des feuilles teintées de rouge mordant qui de nuit ont l’air de fantômes argentés.

Elle rêve de nos mondes distincts qui meurent et se réincarnent de la terre fertile au clair de lune.

C’est une symphonie de ruine, de la vie et ce qui pourrait la surpasser, nos envies hantées.

Dans le noir j’ai rencontré un bel homme rusé qui ne rêvait jamais, jamais.

Le cœur vide dans sa puissance meurtrière n’était figé qu’à la colère.

C’est le cauchemar qui rôde dehors, la grande faucheuse qui nous noierait au clair de lune.

C’est voleur de l’esprit à l’âme rancunière, aussi froid et mortel qu’une nuit glaciaire.

Je rêve de ce qui n’a jamais été et je rêve de ce qui ne sera jamais.

Je rêve qu’il m’aimait comme il m’a dit qu’il m’aimait, et je rêve de ce qui ce serait d’être aimée.

Ma chère lune qui rêve les beaux rêves la nuit, je rêve tout autant que toi,

moi, une femme qui dans mes rêves se noie.








©Susan Zegarsky


لقد رأيت الحرب

لقد رأيت الحرب

خبثك

انه كان سيف الضغينة

في الريح

رأيت الدم على يديك


الأمور ليست كما كانت

كنت تعتقد أنني كنت بحزن بالغ عندما غادرت؟

واود ان ابكى فرحا

عالمي أصبح أكثر غنى من أي وقت مضى

لدي الحرية. لي إسمي الخاص


سيصبح العالم اكثر اشراقا فى غيابك


دائما

I've seen war

I've seen war.

Your malice,

it was a sword of spite

in the wind.

I have seen the blood on your hands.

Things are not as they were.

You think I grieved when you left?

I want to weep with joy.

My world has become richer than ever before;

I have freedom, I have my own name.

The world will become even brighter in your absence

always.


©Susan Zegarsky


الشعر العربي والترجمات

Poetry in Arabic and Translation

الأيام الصيفية المعتدلة انتهت

العواصف الرعدية تقترب

أنا وعباد الشمس ننتظر مصيرن

doux jours d'été disparus

orages se rassemblent

les tournesols et moi

on attend notre destin


sweet summer days lost

thunderstorms gather

sunflowers and I

await our fate

رعد في الخريف الأحمر

صراصير الليل يغنون

الهدوء الذي يسبق العاصفة النيلية


tonnerre d'automne rouge

grillons chantent

dans calme

avant un orage indigo


thunder of red autumn

crickets sing

in calm

before an indigo storm

©Susan Zegarsky


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