Bean Sidhe
Kathryn Stripling Byer

Lying soiled in his bedclothes,
this old man I once tracked

through laurel hells thick as what thrives
on the underside, my realm of dark

weavings:  him 
I first came upon

as I strode September
harvests, the start in my throat

like the sound of his stalks crying
out as they fell,  but quick,

I caught my voice 
in my  hands.  Let him stand 

with a rusty scythe, 
open shirt falling away to reveal 

his chest waiting for my
caress, hair  flying back

from his face with each swing
of the blade.  He looked straight

through me.  Sliced me 
in twain  as I stood

in the stubble, wrapped 
tight in my legends, a gauzy

wound, trembling like some common
field wench, my song

like a stone in my throat
then, a ripening scuppernong now.

Originally appeared in Shenandoah

Return to Fall 2013 Table of Contents