Protection Spell for Poetry Readings

poems by Erin Emily Ann Vance

Protection Spell for Poetry Readings

Around your neck,
wear a black widow suspended in resin
from a copper chain
and from your ears,
hang ant queens.

Shoo the wasps from a nest
found in your granny’s attic
and slice it in half
to wear as a crown.

Bundle together the following
and burn it in a clay dish:
Black Pepper
White Sage

Mark your throat with a black cross
made from the ashes.

At the bookshop (or bar, depending)
sprinkle rock salt in the wine glass
of every man there
or better yet
just serve tequila in salt-rimmed shot glasses
with chasers of holy water.

If none of this works
to chase the male students from your MFA cohort
away from your book launch
simply open your mouth
and screech
and with tufts of armpit hair
leering out at the audience
from the sleeves of your dress.

Spell to Finish a Master’s Thesis

On a waning moon
leave a red candle on your bedside table
and light it upon waking
to encourage strength.
Drip the crimson wax slow over your wrists
like you are drizzling lemon curd over a cake.

Sip oolong tea in the dimness
of your kitchen
pick up a book about death
and read a few pages before opening Facebook
(un-like all ironic pages about academia) \.

Find a smooth piece of amethyst
and when you’re getting dressed
place it in your bra on the left side near your heart.

Stir your porridge clockwise.
And add some extra honey.

Remember that you do not have
to subscribe to the life of impoverished thought
and insomnia
that your tuition fees tell you
that you must live.

In a large iron pot, boil
cinnamon to pull you out of your night terrors
nutmeg to help you get clean in the shower
allspice to sew up your torn bladder
ginger to cut the strings tying you to the moon
basil to ward off the flies

and soak strips of black cloth in the mixture.
Leave them to dry in the sun

then tie them in your hair.

When you ride your pink bike to the grocery store
wear your blue dress;
the one with the bee pattern.
If your favourite lemon yogurt is not on sale today,
place the pennies saved in the bottom of a pot
and plant creeping bellflower for a rainy day.
Remember that you are an invasive species
and that the magic is often in the binding
rather than in the book

Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling station. A 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction, she will complete her MA in Creative Writing in August 2018 and an MA in Folklore in 2020. Erin's debut novel, Advice for Amateur Beekeepers and Taxidermists will be published by Stonehouse Publishing in 2019. Read more of Erin’s work in our Hallow’s Eve issue!