I. Rosemary: Strong Woman
Mother cuts Daughter’s roots off at the height of Father’s head with precision. Daughter’s
head, now nearly eyeless, has gone still. When this happens, add bone needles, honey and sip from the head, inhaling the scent deeply. Winter is a most barren season. Daughter is a herb who, with cutting, will manifest as Mother desires. Soak her leaves in hot milk and gruel. Mother mulls an elixir of nitric acid and knot weed and throws it on Daughter’s face and breasts to disfigure her. Mother grows taller and dances in blue velvet slippers.
II. Calendula: Soothing Balm
Daughter tries not to dissolve. With a finger she strokes the yellowing stain of Mother on her
body. Mother smooths cool egg white onto Daughter’s skin. Daughter’s face fills with noise.
She is Mother’s own pale bell. Her arms bruise and her wrists break, withering in the air. A
Black Witch Moth smells the rot with a long nose, cold as innocence. Daughter lives and
shines with a strange hue. Mother clears garden bracken and she cuts. There is a red blush
in the soil.
III. Mandrake: Love Potion
Mother waits for dusk in a thin dress. She slips a strand of old hair, so softly, into Daughter’s
salt water. Spring has moved new storms. Mother is the rain, dousing webs in heavy silk and formula milk. Daughter’s baby teeth need cutting out; dead tissue, so sick. Mother severs the clots from the membrane with the edge of her secateurs. A blue mouth means the soul is lost. A swollen stomach is an omen; the devil is trying to break out. Mother cuts the head clean off.
Natalie Crick has poetry published in The Poetry Review, Agenda, The Dark Horse and Banshee. Her poetry was awarded second prize in the Newcastle Poetry Competition 2020, commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020 and highly commended in the Wales Poetry Award 2020. Natalie studies at Newcastle University.