• Avra Margariti

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.

Wolfsbane baying

lonesome at the moon,

Nightshade preening

purpler than hazy cloudcover

After a mage-summoned storm,

Hemlock twined in embrace with dainty

Deadly Oleander

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.

Hush now,

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,

our own.

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

a bloodletting

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.

Seismic terrain,

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).