Fata Morgana by Sabrina Vourvoulias

Imagine vivisection
at cellular level.
Live extraction or
structural change induced
by heat. Acid.
Or some base applied
as biochemistry
or magic dictates —
turning what is without harm
to poison. There is
a reason to do it.
There is.

The dog loved to run.
His blood carried messages
from generations of canids
traveling in packs through snow-clad woods.
Now, he’s obedient
and slowly circles the drive
to do his business.

Her husband leafed out yearly —
green-blushed, boreal.
A Merlin held in the branches
of old growth. Some believe
the druid’s prison was oak
or hawthorn or dark-hearted conifer.
Others, that the entrapment was stone.
They are all wrong.
Such things were of his nature,
and no jail.
Instead, the witch took him
away. Denatured him.

They are all still breathing:
wolf-dog, druid, witch.
But when she looks at the profile
of the man in bed beside her,
she abjures reason.
She remembers instead
the wild she loved
when she took possession.
She counts what’s in her heart —
that glacial penitentiary — now
sliding to its terminal moraine.

Sabrina Vourvoulias was born in Bangkok, Thailand’”the daughter of a Guatemalan-Mexican artist and an American businessman’”but grew up in Guatemala. She moved to the United States when she was 15 and studied fiction at Sarah Lawrence College (in Bronxville, N.Y.) with Allan Gurganus, and poetry with Jane Shore and John Skoyles. Her poems have been published in Graham House Review (11 and 13), the We’Moon 2000 calendar, and the May 2010 edition of Scheherezade’s Bequest. Most of her publication credits and writing awards have been for her work as staff writer and editor of small local newspapers in New York State and Pennsylvania. She lives in Glenmoore, Pa. with her husband and daughter.

Image: The Beguiling of Merlin, Edward Burne Jones, 1874.