What do they use when the sorcery
store is closed? When the mare’s milk
has gone off or the quivering eye of newt
has turned to an inky dust. The jar holding
hummingbird hearts is past its expiration date,
the vessel of virgins’ tears is empty and yet

the vapors rise, the long smoky plumes urgently
whispering the names of necessary ingredients.
How to stir the pot when the cupboard is wanting?
Are there substitutions? The way we might sour
the milk with lemon for buttermilk? Deep in the woods
past midnight, might a stalk of wild millet serve

as a cat’s tail? A sprinkling of milkweed stand
in for dogbane blossoms? A husk of old pine cone
for the mouse’s skull? And when the charmed
creature limps misshapen or the lover
is inconsistent in his passion, who would confess
to what was omitted or altered?

Susan Moorhead’s poetry has found its way into The Comstock Review, Goblin Fruit, Anderbo, Otis Nebula, as well as one chosen for Danse Macabre’s Poem du Jour. Most recently, she received an honorary mention for a poem in the Open to Interpretation’s book, Intimate Landscape.

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