Cailleach Bheur

A single stream of rain pours from a damaged gutter,

blows slantwise in the heavy gusts,

a straggling thread from the long grey gown of

Cailleach Bheur, Hag Queen of Winter,

bringer of storms.


Some say she is one-eyed,

old,

with bad teeth and

matted hair.


I say she is a painted woman

dressed in grief, standing

barefooted in icy waters, screaming

imprecations;


I say she is mother of a lost child,

face puffed like a blowfish;


I say she is wife of a sailor asleep in the sea,

womb-clenched against emptiness;


I say she’s a teenaged girl with a razor.


Cailleach Bheur

hagdom,

one size fits all.


In the night I am alone, one light out of a hundred black windows as

through the hours the wind-crone

hurls herself at the old hotel:

I can frighten you, she shrieks,

I can make you remember everything.


Too late

Cailleach Bheur

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