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© COPYRIGHT 2019.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sally Rosen Kindred

Fairy Tale for Hydroxychloroquine, 400 mg Daily

It is not clear why hydroxychloroquine is effective at treating autoimmune diseases.

It is believed that hydroxychloroquine interferes with communication of cells

in the immune system. — Rheumatology.org                                                                  

 

Each morning you swallow a wolf. Something

in the body, maybe a girl, drops

 

                                               her bucket, her knife, wanders over

                                               to find twilight drifting in his plush

 

and answers his rainy cry, thumbing the soft

spell of muzzle and ruff. Leans her lips

 

                                               to the place at his neck where tender

                                               darkness spreads. She forgets to attack

 

the body: yank and saw its sugary weeds,

rip taut roots, crack limbs off the cedars.

 

                                               Something in the body on all fours,

                                               something snouted, steaming, tusked, and mean

 

forgets its hunger, forgets the feathers and nests  

it snapped and ground along its path   

 

                                               and huffs into brush, fleeing the wolf’s smoke breath.

                                               The girl and the beast will never meet.

 

The story they were going to be sleeps                              

against a steep bank of unremembered snow

                                               

                                               leaving a mossy wood for wolves

                                               to range, pawing the day’s loam, shedding

 

inside you their strangeness, tufts of moon.

Each morning you rise and walk to the door

                                               

                                               in a body changed by wolves, nosing

                                               the bluebells and marking with their musk

 

a story you can’t tell, a wilderness

howling now, shining with black wings.

Healer, Healer, Witch

1.

 

Katharina Kepler

is mother of Johannes—

astrologer, alchemist, keeper of planets

 

and their laws—and mother

of Heinrich, Margaretha, Christoph, matron

of Sun Inn, of candles and locks.

 

Married a mercenary

out the door in four years to Flanders, Corfu.

Dragged him back once to Weil, but he left again.

 

Married tough greens and a broom full of rain.

Is a healer. Is a healer.

Not a witch.

 

Wakes in the dark to tend the cows and clear their stalls.

Makes spelt-cakes on Fridays, makes cabbages and bread,

makes hay and carries it by hand

 

from the outer barn on her                          

own, because the children are always

small, pox-weak or off at school—

 

is a healer sleepless

during fever weeks, her thumbs on the town’s damp

lids, the pestle, the poultice, until a boy at the market

 

eats roots from her winter hands

and gets sicker.

Is a place on no one’s map

 

of the moon. Wants to weep

for the planets now, dangling as they must                   

from her son’s hard mind. Wants

 

to know what’s in the letter

he’s sent from university, but when

she begs the schoolmaster to read it

he says No.

                       Later he’ll say her voice burned ice,

then her breasts melted red through his door.

 

Wants to be called Daughter again, hear her common name.

Does not care anymore how the planets move,

though once she showed her sons the evening star,

 

once she worked beneath it in summer winds

picking up speed with the scythe as the fields went dark,

bent and swinging,

 

the children already in their beds.

Out of love she moved in the scythe’s lit song, believed

none of them would wander.

 

2.

 

Katharina Kepler

dreams she does not dream.

Lies down on the prison stone in 1620,

 

chain at her wrist like snow. Lies

down at last and does not rise                              

for choleric cows or children. Tonight

 

she heals no one. Heinrich

has accused her to the court; Christoph gave

her up. Margaretha sweeps a far hearth, busy

 

with her family. Only Johannes

is awake somewhere, thinking of her, his mind

in the same stone dark. Let him think.

 

She has her hands on her own face,

can feel in sleep her skin buckle, harden, can feel

herself become the churchyard hill

 

she climbed once to see the comet—

dreams she wakes now cloud-furled,

dreams she flies

 

through space, finally a body burning ice.

 

Johannes stands far below on the hill, a boy again

lifting his hand to her, tender,

tipping his chin to her sky.

 

Does he hurt down there? She heals

no one—

she can only scorch and fly—    

 

and now she is a girl, running through black grass

to a witch whose silk arms

stretch out to claim her:

 

in this ring of daisies flaring

under stars, she arrives into warm folds. They hold

each other and are held

 

in the cape of night, in a meadow made

from blooms and her own voice, from a cauldron of herbs and Mother air—

her song, her shroud, this nevertheless.

 

Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of Book of Asters and No Eden, and her latest chapbook is Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review's Poem-of-the-week web feature, and Kenyon Review Online. She is a poetry editor for The Baltimore Review.