'Cheval Mallet of Vendée' & 'Salem Coven': Two Poems by Christina Ciufo



CHEVAL MALLET OF VENDÉE


Four deafening pounds


against harden, tan soil


travels downward


from melancholy hillside


across Vendee’s countryside.



Six streaks of lightning pummels


from the darken sky. Each streak


trumpets forth the harbinger


of wandering travelers.



A raven Camargue


ferociously gallops and swerves


on the fogged covered barren road.


Its’ burgundy eyes immersed


with otherworldly fierceness


and scornful entreaty through


the night’s mystic veil, like


a demon emerging


from faded, ash pentagram lines


in a decrypted churchyard.



The Camargue’s muscular back


carries an empty hazelnut saddle


yearning for a naïve soul


to take the fortuitous ride


into the night, like the headless horseman


charting through the slumbering


Sleepy Hollow.



His oval nostrils flare


his viciousness, charring


Rowan’s red blossoms.


Their blacken, delicate petals


twirl downward, quietly landing


in his imposing, engraved hoof prints.



His front torso raises upward


His back legs hold their stance


Earsplitting shrills charted


through the wrinkled fog sheets


of the countryside.



Front torso lowers,


He lowers his head.


Front legs part.



From the distance


at the road’s edge,


his pupils dialed


at a thin black silhouette,


oscillation its’ long arms


side to side, like a grandfather clock’s


golden pendulum slowly


vacillation in the glass confines.



He charges through the dense fog


and towards the figure.



Clip, clop.


Clip, clop.


Clip, clop.



White fog lifts its’ veil, revealing


a young noble man, wearing enriched,


tattered, unhygienic clothes.


His pale, fragile face sunken


into his cheek bones.


Dimmed grey eyes lowered,


reflecting an antecedent ghoul


wearing human clothing.



The raven Camargue’s hooves


lifts scattered pebbles,


reaching closer and closer


to him. The young nobleman


ceases in his place, hearing


four levying pounds behind.


Dimmed eyes widened, hearing


an ungodly shrill accompanied


by scorching flares poignant


his neck.



His long, black nostril,


nuggets on the noble man’s shoulder


to rest and sit on his empty saddle.



He turns his head,


seeing the raven Camargue


anticipating his decision.



The young man’s antecedent


conscious whispers,


“You’ve been weary and wandering


on this forsaken road.


Ride on its’ back. Ride on its’ back.


You are a nobleman of Vendée and deserve


to ride like one.”



He walks over to the Camargue.


His skeletal hand strokes down the Camargue’s


enlarged neck. The young nobleman lifts and rests


his foot onto a footrest. He lifts his bottom


and places in the empty saddle.



The Camargue’s head wildly bobs its’ head,


Lifts its’ torso upward into the air,


and levying onward,


expressing its’ wicked satisfaction.



Riding with the wandering nameless soul


from the haunting landscape of Vendée


and into the orange-beige cracks


of Perdition.






SALEM COVEN


Howling wilderness beckons its’ call

to the Devil’s handmaidens to gather, craft and

and conquer their Master’s monstrosity.


Pumpkins slumber in the fields become coiled by their vines

White willow trees cast their specter shadows

Grey horned owls fly and hoot their dreaded song

Black cats meowed, prowl and frolic through the cemetery

Crickets strum their legs


Golden moon hovers the darken woods

illuminating a disconcerting glow

down at the Devil’s handmaidens.


Women, young and old, dress in black dresses

and white aprons form a circle.

Suppressed thoughts and desires

corrupt their minds and souls.


Humble, fragile, kind eyes become

powerful, seductive, malicious, sadistic

and amoral.


Dark magic and sweltering wickedness

towards the disillusioned and fearful people of Salem

coursing through hemlock blood, unraveling

their mortal coils.


Their master’s scorched touch

caresses their skin and neck.

He whispers in Latin

a forbidden incantation their ears.


Fire's ring and black cauldron boil


Dead man’s arms, black cat’s green eyes,

cow’s tongue, a pair of bat wings,

serpent’s fresh skin, mint moss from

a tombstone, toad’s warts, crow’s feet,

wilted black rose petals, dried mugwort,

teardrops of a little girl, blood

of a young man, a young woman’s beating heart

and Death’s kiss.


Black cauldron boils


Amber-canary flames

turns into emerald-black flames.

Their wildness burns and blackens

the orange and golden leaves. It reaches

towards the mystic moon.


Spell casted


Cauldron erodes and splatters on the ground


Fall winds hollow


Twigs snapping


Grey horned owls hoot


Women grinned their sadistic pleasure

Their Master’s irreligious eyes burned

his seeping, burning desire for madness and discord.


Like the Black Plague across the villages in Europe,

the coven’s dark magic and sweltering wickedness

is unleased upon the disillusioned and fearful people of Salem.





Christina Ciufo is a passionate young woman who writes poetry, short stories, flash fictions, fables, and completing her first novel. At a very young age, she always had a passion for writing stories and poems, specifically in fairytales, folklore, supernatural, and horror. She truly enjoys writing about folklore, the supernatural, and horror in various writing genres because she believes by telling stories about witches, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, demons, and other supernatural forces, they evoke a haunting and terrifying imagination that brings joy and fright. She is currently a Sunday School Teacher. She has appeared in Gravitas and Spillwords. She will appear in Curating Alexandria, Moonchild Magazine and Ovunque Siamo in September 2019 and Bonnie's Crew in December 2019. Her upcoming poem will be published in Twist in Time Magazine's  Thank You For Your Service: An Anthology in November 11th, 2020. Find her on Twitter: @ChristinaCiufo

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