Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Poppet Piracy

The cost of keeping you, my love,
is high.

Blue candles worn to nubs,
raven-throated nights of chanting,
vats of honey to swim your name in

are the least of it.
To your symbol and substitute,

carved poppet, blonde wool
wound round waxen neck,
I address my prayers and pleas.

Each time you falter,
your tiny twin, lumpen manikin,

assures your return, as long

as the levy’s paid.
If only I hadn’t hidden him

amongst my jewels.

He’s contracted a lust for gems.
To keep your love fresh, he demands

a price of pearls,
an exaction of emeralds,
a toll of tourmalines.

For each kiss I sacrifice a ruby,

each embrace requires
a bracelet’s mocking clasp,
and vows ring true only
in gold bands’ currency.

For tonight’s caresses,

adoring declarations,

what ransom will I pay?
My cupped hands tremble,

sapphires at the ready.

Sandi Leibowitz is a native New Yorker who sings classical music, teaches, and writes fiction and poetry, mostly speculative. Her works appear in such places as Goblin Fruit, Best Horror of the Year, vol. 5, edited by Ellen Datlow, and Strange Horizons. You may visit her raven’s nest at

Categories: Halloween / Autumn, Poetry

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