Incantation by Eloise Bruce

in the eddies of Tribulation Creek


Spirits were waiting here for someone to arrive and fold themselves into sleep.  The land is patterned with the poxes, empty bellies; the screams of labor while, reproachful in the rusty hinges of the gate are all the old laws, a selvage frayed by years. What have the living and the dead carelessly stitched-into-the-legumes,-the-thick-of-the-mare’s-tail-or- the-water-we-drink-?

The young bull is castrated in the lower pasture, on the day of the full moon. The ancestors fade into the chatter of the blue birds and the goldfinches as they sit on the fence posts and roost in the trees waiting for moonrise.  In the night the decedents all wait between the sheets to dress in the shadows of the spectors of the past.

Make me a coat of sweetbriar, honeysuckle and woodpecker feathers. Let the bees armor my chest so I can build a loom and surrender all of it into a sturdy cloth to clothe our unborn.



In 2004 Eloise Bruce’s first book of poetry Rattle was published by CavenKerry Press. Over the years she has had various roles at the Frost Place Center for Poetry and the Arts in Franconia, NH. She is member of the poetry critique and performance group Cool Women. She is youth editor for RavensPerch Magazine and has been a teaching artist for 39 years. You can find her at Cool Women Poets.