. Word Witch She’ll tease and tempt with mystic words, __This foxy sorceress. Her syntax soars like sun-bound birds--- __This wizard poetess Casts slick linguistic spells that sing __Of Cupid’s carnal kiss. Her saucy muse is sure to bring A red, red rose and diamond ring, __But cannot conjure bliss. She’ll thrill and spill the sweetest sea __Of honey in keen ears--- A silken trill, a symphony __That drips with dead men’s tears. She’ll summon rapture in the croon __Of sirens in the mist. They’ll steal a soul and melt a moon, Caress the senses till they swoon, __But will not conjure bliss. Her cauldron bubbles with the tale __Of hearts that yearned then burned--- Raw hearts that sought romance’s grail __In dreams that Venus spurned. Spleen boils with wing of turtle dove __In misery’s abyss--- All stirred by seer of toad-skin glove Whose lyric lure (devoid of love) __Will never conjure bliss. . . Toad Ode O warty dweller of the weedy pond, O cauldron-dodging lodger of the lake, My happy-ending heart has grown so fond Of craggy clamminess, I plan to take An algae night to swim in bulgy eyes While basking in the choruses you croak. If pussycats and owls can dine on quince And float their pea-green boats to heaven highs, Then I can plant a wince-free kiss to smoke Your chilly lips and free your inner prince. I’ve met a ton of toads, but none like you, O legend of the frilly lily pad. They wowed and wooed and cooed and left me blue--- All armed with charm that hid a tad of cad. Each peachy paramour assailed my eye With weapons of the flash and dashing kind--- A scorching thrust of lust that left love dead. And that, O dumpy, dimply one, is why My inner princess surfaced just to find… You… the toad I’m owed… the prince I’ll wed. Oh dear, I fear my awestruck heart’s forsaken – I’ve puckered up with pluck and now it seems I’m out of luck---your inner prince won’t waken. A snoring schmuck has dashed my princess dreams. O crinkled critter of the realm of reeds, O soggy squatter of the swampy sphere, I’ve snogged you at the bottom of your bog Yet you can’t meet my doleful-damsel needs. I now assume a suitor won’t appear Unless I slip your grip and kiss a frog. . . Corpseville a twisted villanelle In twilight’s glow you’ll know you’re not alone. You’ll hear their whispers rasping in your ear. They’ll burrow through the marrow of your bone. They’ll reap the seeds their cunning kin have sown – A harvest that would make a demon cheer. In twilight’s glow you’ll know you’re not alone. They’ll bask in every gibbous-moon-soaked groan That rumbles through the eerie atmosphere. They’ll burrow through the marrow of your bone. Your dreams will shudder with their ghostly drone. Your skull will crawl with thoughts no heart can bear. In twilight’s glow you’ll know you’re not alone. Befouled with gore they’ll draw a ghastly moan. They’ll bore beneath your skin and raise your hair. They’ll burrow through the marrow of your bone. Soon mini ghouls will roam your twilight zone To trick or treat as grinning pumpkins stare. Shrug off your shroud. Don’t rot at home alone. Creep from your crypt and throw those imps a bone. . . Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.