Myth & Mystique: Three Poems

Frances Boyle


Can’t you name her? Froth of fear-

sweat rank on her neck. Spears of light

catch the whites of her wild

rolling eyes, that glint off teeth,

her lips pulled back

over the shaft

of a broken bit.

She has, you realize, a woman’s

arms, jewel-adorned

and impassive, yet—oh greater terror!

unyielding as climbing vine

they bind you.

And, rigid among your ropes of sheet,

you leave no impression

on the unperturbed surface,

the night’s petrified

and momentary membrane.


Loving another life. In the mirror

Alice felt herself belonging. Shadow

puppets—a lace of branches filigrees

my bedroom wall, frames a windsprite moment.

I display shed antlers, tree limbs, as art

on an applewood sideboard, lean into

sighs and cherry-bomb laughter. Swordplay creeps

toward morning, my new rituals. Come,

play, imbue nonsense gestures with meaning.

The thrum of grasshoppers seeds the field with sound.

Chateau Grand-Jean

Rubies, and crimson velvet.

The dark hues play dark notes,

colours ripple in oily solemnity.

Curtains swing heavy, collide,

raise dust, sound plumb-line deep.

Waves through an oak barrel

nosed uphill by great snuffly

beasts, heavy bodied and hard-

headed, pushing and whuffling.

The cask shifts with weight of red jewels

dripping with colour. Focus, concentrate

to find a balance in disequilibrium


for the long draught that slakes throat,

dust and choke dissipating.

Frances Boyle, a Canadian writer living in Ottawa, is the author of two poetry books, most recently This White Nest (2019). She has also written Tower, a Rapunzel-channeling novella (2018) and Seeking Shade, a short story collection (forthcoming 2020). Places her writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, include: Best Canadian Poetry 2020, Blackbird, Mineral Lit, Prairie Fire, Cypress, Vallum, and Parentheses Journal. Visit for more.

 © 2020 þ (Thorn) Literary Magazine                                                                        

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