Home // Issue 11 // The Signatory by Megan Arkenberg

The Signatory by Megan Arkenberg

Never trust a man with hair as red
as the flames from a church’s roof on a winter night,
a man with six brothers and six uncles,
or one born with a caul. Don’t trust a man
with needle-holes tracing the edges of his quietly
smiling lips, or one whose kisses taste of cinnamon,
cheap whiskey, mistletoe and salt.
Don’t trust a man who knows how to open a vein
with a pocketknife and a match, who knows
how to fill a quill from his wrist and write
without blotting, who carries ivory chessmen
in the pocket over his heart. Don’t trust a man
too quick to offer what isn’t his to give—
a wife, a soul, a head with no neck attached—
or one content to hide in shadows. And never,

Never trust a man who refuses
to step outside his circle of salt, or one
who blesses himself before he shakes your hand,
or one who knows enough to glance behind you
for the tracks your hooves leave in the snow.

Posted in Issue 11, poetry

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