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his first spring

his first spring
by Sandi Leibowitz

knee-deep in asphodel
he pauses
—that grey sea’s sole
dark driftwood—
picks one
in her remembrance

if only, he thinks,
it were a field of poppies

imagines red skirts of poppies
amid the long-legged wheat
imagines Her running,
head tumbled back and mouth
so open, red
if only

idly twists the petals free
strewing their grey ghosts
behind him like a trail of seeds
as he heads home

ascends the obsidian throne
looks out onto the black, burnt halls
the ranks of courtiers
servile and unbeautiful

and thinks for the first time,
so this is hell

* * *

Sandi Leibowitz is a school librarian, classically trained singer and native New Yorker.  Her speculative poetry and fiction appear in Mythic Delirium, Pantheon Magazine, Liminality, Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year 5 and other magazines and anthologies.  She has followed in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims traveling from southern France to Santiago de Compostela, sailed across the Rio Grande in a hot-air balloon and visited with Arthur in Avalon.  She invites you to visit her at her web site, "In the Raven's Wood," at