Selected Poetry by Avra Margariti
Photo Source: PxFuel
The Curse of Memory
She’s catching her death tonight,
or at least she’s trying to.
Million-mended butterfly net
wielded like a bladed weapon,
bare feet sinking in this muddy swamp
of amnesiac ghosts seeking
our place in the world, striving
to capture the septic-winged memory
of our death, our tarnished key to the afterlife.
She moves like a rapturous disaster
and I watch her
from the cattailed shore:
my favorite ghost, my favorite death.
If I reached out and
caught her in my arms,
would I feel my spirit
transported to the skies?
Fleurs du Mal
Walk with me, beloved,
Through my garden of
herbs and flowers,
Paradise of poisons.
lonesome at the moon,
purpler than hazy cloudcover
After a mage-summoned storm,
Hemlock twined in embrace with dainty
While white snakeroot slithers through
My lovingly tilled soil,
Promising antidotes, ensuring swift
Demise: trembling bodies,
Toxins excreted through milk.
Flowers whose petals
gently part, revealing
Pink sugar skulls or pearly milk teeth
Snapping in their core.
Wormwood, amanita, I feed them
Hallowed bones of unholy nemeses.
Come, my best beloved, walk
Into my garden of ghastly wonders.
Leave your parasol and
lace gloves behind,
Let your hair curl freely as fern fronds,
Tendrils of mycelium.
Wander with me under stark moonlight,
Ask if we can learn to
grow this world together.
I will show you what anthers to inhale,
Which roots to rub into the whorls of your fingers.
By the time we finish meandering
Our serpentine meridians,
You will be transformed
As I once was:
A metamorphosis of foaming mouth
And ulcerated skin--
How potion-makers learn our
Craft of poisons.
The Most Beautiful Drowned Girl in the World
Inspired by “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” by Gabriel García Márquez
We dress her in linen waxed
stiff and immaculate,
braid chrysanthemums and irises through salt-pearl hair.
We lay her on the church altar with cyanotype hands
folded neatly in prudent prayer.
we whisper to each other,
don’t wake her.
We keep our vigil in
devout silence, cradling
our candles, hissing softly
when the flames lick
our fingers--hush, hush.
An orderly line snakes
outside the church, all of us waiting,
some stoically, some not, waiting for our turn to see
the drowned girl.
Do those ahead of me
kiss her on the lips
as if she were a saint icon,
do they ask for
guidance, benediction, salvation?
When my turn comes
I am leaden, each step
a waterlogged weight,
the ocean splashing
shipwrecks and sirens
against my eardrums.
All the candles and flowers in the world
cannot conceal her swollen
garden of lungs, the stones
sewn into her slight body,
distending her stomach
like a fetus that murders its mother.
We don’t ask ourselves who
put the stones inside her,
who pushed her in the ocean.
Her name, once known,
long lost now.
No parent or lover has claimed her
body, so our town calls her our one,
Her face, though serene, espouses
wet cement by the time
I sit at her bedside.
Her lips part, not to deliver words of wisdom or rosebud
kisses, but to expel
squirming bodies--moribund minnows.
Under the voyeuristic
trickery of candlelight,
her eyelids on the verge of blooming,
Heart thrashing against my
ribcage’s sawtooth reef,
I lean in close and
blow out the candles.
Our town requires
no proof of light to know
she is the most beautiful drowned girl in the world.
In Every Story I Chose my Teeth and Nails
I was not bewitched by the vixen At the blood-soaked crossroads. I followed her unforced, the swish Of her tawny tails,
each ravenous flame Crowned with the skull of a mammal Or monster, promise rings for my Taloning fingers and toes. I did not eat the pomegranate seeds Out of some nubile naivete,
Their juice burning
raw my nimble tongue. In my dreams I had burrowed under The rotten skin and skeleton of Death, Already carving for myself an osteic Throne primed for my Descent. I was not felled from my donkey By the rushing river’s magnetic pull, Nor by some aquatic imp or puck’s Malignant mischief. The water had Long since gurgled my fate, my soul Responding in kind: when my spine Fuses and dislocates
into a barbed tail, I shall resume my birthright, swallow The swan song of the drowned.
All my tears are alchemy
the bad distilled out of my body
to balance the four humors.
Tea tannins, I’m told, soothe the soul
though I have yet to see the living proof
only this half-dead
husk I’m lugging around.
I empty pot after pot into my stomach--
tea, sometimes iron gall ink--
staining my scientific notes
the brown of decay.
my strange stoichiometry.
I sing to the universe
make love to the universe
am one with the universe--
I am no one.
My alembics, beaks, and petri dishes
all lay broken in my memory palace.
I step on the glass, my feet a landfill.
I write formulas and invent theorems,
pen letters to the lost
tucked in my teapot,
submerged in arsenic,
then dried brittle-thin
something I could eat were I
less of a recreant.
I watch the woodstove’s flames
under my cracked teapot, think about
transmuting temptation into genius.
Let us burn the world, the flames
under my palms hiss exultant.
Let us burn.
Avra Margaritiis a queer author, Greek sea monster, and Pushcart-nominated poet with a fondness for the dark and the darling. Avra’s work haunts publications such as Vastarien, Asimov’s, Liminality, Arsenika, The Future Fire, Space and Time, Eye to the Telescope, and Glittership. “The Saint of Witches”, Avra’s debut collection of horror poetry, is forthcoming from Weasel Press. You can find Avra on twitter (@avramargariti).