The Noonwraith
Sasha Jovanovski

There is a woman who
Wanders the fields.

Čičko Lazar saw her once and
Swore she chased him through the heather,
Slippers black with flowered mud and
Sickle dragging at her feet

We all knew he wasn’t lying—
That day’s sun had shone but fierce,
Drier than the crown of twigs that
Burns around her golden head

She leaves prizeless, swift and soundless,
Takes no trophies from her hunt, but
We’ve all seen the singed blue petals
Scattered ’round in pools of sick

When I met her, I was young, and
Almost felt some pride in me, as
If it were a rite of passage
Sent from sleeping harvest gods

I was pale like honey then, with
No sense of our mortal lot—I
Worked ’til Lady Midday threw me,
Spitting blood, down on my knees

If it was some holy test, I
Played the boastful fool quite well;
Now, I’ve learned her warning cries, and
Buried friends whose straws she drew

That cold hand of premonition,
Clutching fast around your throat—and
Then it’s hot, it burns its dead, and
When there’s nothing left, it goes

Čičko Lazar saw her once and
Sent for Baba Veštica, but
There’s no witch can rid the earth of
Shadows in the noonday sun

So there is a woman who
Wanders the fields.