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The Ecdysis of Eurydice

                                                                                   [Brigid Johnson]

lungs fill with

dust-heavy air
and death awaits
below the ground. The bard
imagines me, ever behind,
placing one thankful
foot in
front of other,
into his light,
towards my fate.
His woman, his muse, his fetish.
He beguiled me for a while
with music and song
but as I began to
my husbandry of
man’s morality
I could not
discard him
so easily.
Paranoid thoughts of
false pledges fester in his
poet’s mind – and sure enough,
as the viper peels away
its naked pelt and readies to bite,
so my spirit slithers out of my
voiceless mouth and
sneaks into the night.
Crocodile tears
won’t save you
The scales
from my eyes,
and the wild women and I
already writhe
on your grave.
We will come for you,
heartbeats fast,
to tear you to shreds:
we smell your sweat.
Maenads, Poison Women, Black Widows
- so many names but history is
a two-faced tongue.
High on honeyed sap,
pupils dilate,
teeth grind,
feet pound.
For ours is the glorious underworld!
Beneath the moon we rattle and
dance, ‘til the first
maddening rays of day
wrinkle our rusty cheeks.
Then down we slip to
sleep beneath
the forest floor
where all the
dead things
shed their



The pit awaits.
Its soil, a clotted thickness
like blood pudding.
Push your hand in and it
stains each lunula black.
Before her first descent
she is told she must
become unclean to
become a woman.
She knows the earth will gobble her up
if she resists; she’s seen the gaping
mouth in the darkness
eager to ingest.
Make the most of the moonlight, they say.
While it lasts.
Not a kind light though.
It turns her skin as thin
as a veil, her veins into tiny blue lines
like the rivers on the maps in the surgery.
When the daughters come of age, they too will
be lowered into shadow.
Tested to the edge of lunacy.
It will always be thus.
The ritual of the pit.
The red moon on fire.
The men above ground making plans.

Brigid Johnson is a high school teacher and poet who was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK but has lived in various places since, including Mexico, France and The Netherlands. She now lives back in the UK, in Liverpool, with her family. Brigid started to write songs and poems as a teenager but has only lately started sharing her work publicly. Brigid tries to write every day and loves setting herself writing challenges with unusual prompts. Brigid's poems explore longing, memory, the passing of time and loss. 

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