Tuesday Poem: Baba Marta Day
For Annie Sutherland
She kept a broom behind the door
to sweep away unwanted guests
and sprinkled spilt salt over
her left shoulder for the Devil,
avoided the green coat
bought before her husband died,
touched wood and counted magpies —
one for sorrow, two for joy.
White heather on the mantlepiece,
May blossom always outside
red and white flowers never
in the same vase or someone died
before the moon waned.
Two teaspoons on a saucer,
tripping upstairs meant
something borrowed, something blue —
but never marry in black
or wish yourself back.
The year the clock stopped
and she put her own foot first
through the door on New Year's Eve
she knew would bring the black-haired man
with owls' feathers in his pockets
to steal her soul.
© Kathleen Jones
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