When the witch married the sea,
she slept on beds of kelp
and barked in otter-tongue.
She wove capes of tender weeds
and danced widdershins
in the foamy wakes of whales.
Pearls were as common as pennies;
if she wanted to feel rich
she counted all the ocean’s greens,
her tongue a clapper in the bell
of the world, chiming their names.
When the witch married the stone
she learned it is no sin to be hard.
If she craved softness,
she gloved herself in velvet lichens,
coaxed a sparrow to brush its wing
against her bulk.
She studied the fine art of time and tarry.
She tasted weather, suffering nothing
from sleet and snow
except the subtle shiftings of the earth
beneath her form.
Erosion barely pained her till
one winter’s contraction
When the witch married the wind,
she broke free of the field and fled
to woods and wilds, revisited the sea.
She toured the cities,
every tower and alley.
For kicks she became a thief of hats,
a gambler betting on the races
between tumbling newspaper rivals.
She was an artist then:
all through the winter nights
she practiced her singing;
in the summers she danced
dust-storms and tornadoes.
When the witch married the night,
she rose above day’s fret and fever,
tuned herself to hear the planets’
subtle harmonies beyond the silence.
She sculpted faces in the moon.
She began to forget the world below,
which she had loved in many forms.
When star-fire called to her,
became pure flame,
a passion that never knew
surcease of burning.
Sandi Leibowitz lives in a raven’s wood, next door to bogles, in New York City. After a variety of careers and jobs (including ghostwriting for a monsignor and working behind one of the caribou dioramas at the Museum of Natural History), she is now an elementary-school librarian, which enables her to hook kids on reading, tell stories, and use puppets and funny voices. She also sings classical and early music and plays recorders. Her speculative fiction and poems may be found in Metaphorosis, Through the Gate, Mythic Delirium, Kaleidotrope, Gaia: Shadow and Breath 3, and other magazines and anthologies. You may visit her at www.sandileibowitz.com.