by Alex Graffeo

Art by Julia Forrest


My womb held them once, 

lifetimes ago.

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. 

Warrior goddess. 

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.