A poem by Bethany Pope

The Vixen in the Grass
I absorbed something of her, my sister,
Something other than blood,
As I stood there staring
By the side of the road.
She took something of me
In the breath of her dying;
Some strong, invisible force
From another world.
I promised you a life of a kind.
You, red-haired, flame-tipped,
Who leads me on still,
Slinking ahead, beckoning
Along winding pathways,
Between bracken and stream,
To the deep places
Where every leaf is gold-edged
With meaning, and every shadow
Cuts deeper.
They say, those tricksters,
Iconographers, poets,
That a lady in white
Will lead you to your death.
Somehow I don’t doubt this
Although she must be in red,
In the red of my arms,
Of your body, as I lifted you,
The colour of your fur, of
You, flayed on the road.
I see a woman who is somehow
Two creatures, a being made double –
Symbiotic, absorbed,
A creature brought forth
In the mingling of blood.
My daughter, my lover,
My death by the road;
Your long tail, like a brush tip,
Peeking from the rim of your gown,
Your smile, sharp-toothed and dazzling,
And your eyes, like pink yew berries,
Glowing brimmed holes, down in a garbed skull,
Leading to death’s other kingdom,
Leading us onward to that other,
More real, place.
Bethany W Pope won first prize in the The Luigi Bonomi Association Award for First Novel, and was a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June 2012. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books for release in the near future.