Erin Emily Ann Vance

Axe Tidings

One should never bring hawthorn blossoms indoors.
Bessie's mother knew this but insisted.

The sun was hot on Bessie's back.
The box was heavy like a body.

One by one she dropped the silver knives
into the well.

It echoed hollow
It smelled like mildew.

Bessie dreamt of a wedding, of her grandmother's
lace gown illuminated by white candles
held up by wax.

The groomsmen were crows.
The bridesmaids were hares.

One by one she dropped her sister's pearls
into the well.

Thursday last an adder slithered under the porch light
and something had to be done.

One by one their fingers fell,
followed by the axe
down the well.

Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work is forthcoming in Coffin Bell Journal, Augur, Post Ghost Press, and Bad Nudes. She is a contributing reader and writer for Awkward Mermaid Literary Magazine. 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.