This is a poem dedicated to my witch girlfriend, who has been teaching me about witchcraft, history, and art ever since we met. It is a simplistic tale in commemoration of beautiful, cunning witches that disguise themselves as something–someone–more… and so these words can be imagined as the secret, invisible text across the gloss of a tarot card.

the lone raven in the warm forest turns into a bedside angel //with demon wings. & //this is nocturne academia //sheet music draped in dust & //little//lithe sparrow bones. someone hooks her wisteria-vine limbs //over my shoulders //whispers something about noxious selves & //falling stars. god, ye are terrible. //we //these veiled fawns so sweet & //cruel. fogged & misted //godly antlers sprouting from where we had bloodletted to coat pinky //fingers in post-sacrificial abel //we //the raw-mouthed cains //chests heaving & //tight white blouses //THIS is cruel//crude, abels melding with obsidian sadness //making promises with girls who speak //in ancient greek //EUASTEROS //sapphic blood pacts & //we try to bring sappho & aphrodite back to life to guide us //but we cannot.

]good morrow, sappho sweet [                   ] & so we listen to CLAIR DE LUNE in corridor haunts //that block the moonshine //wisteria girl’s hands in my sleeves //wispy candlelight flickering //in her face //crows tittering//toasting to our ghost town hearts //making fun of how lonesome we all are, wine- //red-deep. we rip open our uniform skirts by the frayed ends //stave off means of humanity //stuff the white roses of our pacts into our chests //all elite with our 15th-century texts //MALLEUS MALEFICARUM //MALIFICAE & //we are polytheistic pagans spit-firing into tombstones. //sappho thrums her lyre & sings sweetly //while we writhe in holywater rotting. //DOUBLE JINX//TRIPLE JINX//QUADRUPLE JINX & //the tap-tap-tapping of my heart. thank you for being her//here, wisp-eria says //smelling like sage & sleepiness & //breaking our pinky-bones //kissing at my neck //it is the summer solstice, she tells me //all innumerable nexus-facets //CRUEL EVE & //immune to our hexing. //let us become the earth– lay down to become a funeral //of honeylovers. how does that //sound? she turns to the bedside angel & //touches their shoulders into wisteria //anti-hexes the rest of us all & //calls me poppet love //presses into me with her sage mouth //pricks my antlers with her blunt bodkin. //i am all scars & //dead autumn. who are you? i ask, out of fear //i am a witch-hunterhexes undone//undone//undone & //it smells like rotten sage against her teeth now //all undone//undone//undone //gods, why does it smell like rotten sage & //seared dove-wing? //hades, is that ye? //sinking into the shadow-lulls tonight //me at river lethe [             ]  with all these lacunae //hanging off the boat //half-conscious & //my feet sink into the water & //why are my feet rotten sage, wisp-eria?

Author’s Note: “wisteria//wisp-eria is a tale about dark academia, young witches, Greek mythology, Sappho, and girls & loving girls. The protagonist is the narrator, who is a part of a little cultish group of witches who participate in blood pacts and the such (and hexes). It isn’t that they go too far, but they are young, immature, and inexperienced. They are, however, at the top of an imposed hierarchy at the academy at which they reside; the other protagonist (or rather, antagonist), known simply as wisteria-vine limbs/wisteria girl/wisps/wisp-eria is below their ranks and opposes their witchcraft ways. She is called wisteria/something similar, as wisteria is known to break hexes– and she is the only one immune to the witches’ doings. But, well, she is in love with our narrator here, and so the tale unwinds into something of her own (anti) hexing. Later, the sage-smell she carries turns sour and rotten, which is a reference to Malleus Maleficarum & rotten sages.

Bio: Janice Kang is an amorist/poet/moonchild, 17, & enjoys using chaotic & messy forms of writing to convey similar messages, usually about love and/or trauma. One of her works is forthcoming in, & she can be found @ERISYEOUL on Twitter where she rambles in fragments & talks about her love for BTS & her lover– or in the soft spaces of tea ceremonies, flowers, downpours, & shrines.

Image: Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash