Walpurgis Night

Sarah Swinford

           My mother hates the rose-quartz
I found where witches dance in early May.

Their effigies hang from ceiling ropes,
                          burlapped skin ever swaying
to the hum of mountain air.

She holds a vigil for Hansel,
           warns of breadcrumb trails,

           forbids me to touch the dirt or waterfalls
in autumn forests, feed the fairies perched
on toadstool rings.

           She throws away each spell book, cast
in my direction, and I gather all my old rocks,

start to haul them on to her altar:
           the rose-quartz, garnet, black tourmaline.

Sparks ignite a hillside fire. Our shadows
halo in the smoke. The hexed dolls twirl
as souvenir shops open,

            and we kick charred pebbles
            down the broken hill.

Author Bio


Sarah Swinford was raised somewhere between a small town in Northern Germany and the suburbs of Houston, Texas. She first began writing and performing her poems at a German poetry slam club and has previously worked on Glass Mountain Magazine. Sarah holds a BA in English from the University of Houston and is currently pursuing her MEd at the University of Houston – Victoria. Her work has appeared in The Rappahannock Review, Gigantic Sequins, and The Sierra Nevada Review.