'Spell To Bind Your Lover' & 'How To Curse Your Mother': Two Poems by J. Summerisle Wilson


I take my lover to the barley house

and bid him lie in the long grass

'til it dies. I give him

a girl's heart, a new-born lamb,

and lift them – make them


Blood scours his teeth as the lamb

screams, too small to stand

the passions of a man's pulse,

too weak to stomach a woman's

grief. A human heart lies

in its cavity. Its lungs

clasp empty air.

I dress my lover

in the beards of barley.

Thread their thorns through his eyes

like weeping. Make a meal

of the husks when we wed.



You mustn't sleep.

Run your left hand

through the wheat

in widdershins

while there is no

sun to see. When your ring

finger lands itself a loop,

snatch it up. Hold it

in your mouth night

and day. Think strong

thoughts. Avoid

those who pray.


Steep for 48

in your spit.

Clear your head

of all but intent.

After two days passing

wheat spikes in your kiss,

cut them. Use your mother's scissors.

Wash them in your spit.

Weigh them. Take them to the graveyard,

waste them. Give a weight

of stones that's equal.

Bury them with your wheat

& mark the place with hair.

Bite your nails. Crush no more

than four snails in the dirt.

Walk the long way home.


J. Summerisle Wilson currently lives in the East Midlands of England & has appeared in various online journals. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net 2019 and a full list of publications can be found at jenniferwilsonlit.wordpress.com. She may also be found on Twitter @_dead_swans

Image: 'Witches and Demons Creating a Circle', Nathaniel Crouch, The Kingdom of Darkness, 1688.

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