Down the moss-carpeted path you creep,
Dewdrops crunching between your toes,
Needles of ice embedded in callus.
Hands emerge from your tattered cloak,
The claws of a she-witch,
Gnarled and twisted, remains of a vile act.
Whorls of black ink gliding over skin,
Peek from beneath your veil,
Runic tattoos, symbols of power,
Dance across your peeling flesh,
Like a shadowy serpent emerging.
Eyes of cobalt pierce the atmosphere,
Cutting like a poison-tipped blade,
Revealing who you truly are.
An abomination to mankind.
A banished druidess, scorned and hurt,
You grasp your wrist,
Where the brand still burns red-hot.
How wrong they were,
To destroy the unknown,
To crush what they failed to understand,
The last flicker of magic,
Balancing on the tenuous horizon of yesterday.
Rage churns in your gut,
Liquid fire cascading and bubbling,
A potion for destruction evolving.
You stoop to pluck the bulb-capped fungi,
Sprouting wildly at your feet,
Ruby red spots dotting their pores,
Like glistening raspberries, poised to burst,
A sickly sweet poison,
Trapped in the veins of their folds.
You crush the delicate membrane,
Between spindly, razor-tipped fingers,
Watching the amber liquid pool in your palm,
Tasteless, odorless, and subversive.
The downfall of a kingdom,
Once gilded and magnificent,
Lies in your hands.
Audra Burwell is a creative writing major with a strong emphasis on fantasy-themed poetry and fiction that covers universal subject matter. She studies at California State University Fresno where she is aiming for a Master of Fine Arts degree. She is currently employed by Fresno State’s Kremen Department as a Communications Assistant where she designs articles, media advisories, website content, press releases, and flyers that advocate for numerous college programs and that promote the student body on campus. She also simultaneously works for A Book Barn in Old Town Clovis and for their sub-business, HBE Publishing, where she has held a position for over six years. There, she performs a variety of tasks including clerical responsibilities, social media administration, inventory management, book design, editing, and event planning. Some of Audra’s hobbies include archery, photography, snowboarding, skydiving, horseback riding, cosplaying, and traveling.