by Alex Graffeo
Art by Julia Forrest
My womb held them once,
I shared my lifeblood with them, and
watched them grow.
Hair formed from sunsets,
lithe limbs from willow trees.
They were mine,
and the land’s.
But then the Black Mass came.
Swords of metal drank our blood.
Swords of flesh drank our innocence.
My womb and heart are barren now.
The land weeps bitter tears,
but I have none left to give.
What more can they take that they have not
already ripped from my heart and spirit?
I am no longer afraid.
Andrasta inhabits me.
She who has never fallen.
Her strength imbues my soul, fills my body with moonlight.
I bleed a lioness’s blood.
Every moment is a battle
to reclaim what is mine.
My heart rages
with bitterness and fury.
I need no armor, my breasts heavy with defiance.
I need no phallic sword as my weapon.
I go to war, my battlefield built
on bones and sighs of half-forgotten queens.
And while my blood bathes the dust beneath my feet,
my womanly roar echoes across the moon-filled sky.
Alex Graffeo is a poet and writer from Staten Island, New York. She earned her Master’s in Fantasy Literature from the University of Glasgow. She is currently at work on her first novel, and she recently completed her first poetry chapbook about historical and legendary women. Her work can be found in The Ravens Perch, Disquiet Arts and Last Leaves Magazine.