Mugwort By Ashley Loper


If this were 1693
I would be blamed
for blighted crops
and winter sickness.

My bloodroot hair would foreshadow
stillborn births.

Villagers would be banned
from wearing shades of red.
Men and their excessive fear
tunneling centuries of ignorance.

I do not know if I am a Witch.
but I do know I feel more at Home
inside the thickets of rosemary and green briar
inside the full Moon of a coyote’s mouth.

It always rains
when I am angry
and the electricity flickers
when I cry.

This body is my feral announcement.
This body made of dirt and thunder
Loam and loud noises
Bloodsap and bellowing

For my 13th birthday
my father taught me seven different names for salt
showed me how to urge tenderness out of his garden
how to lean into the seasons.

So now
because of vegetables and vigor
I am lashed to a pyre of solitude
left not to burn, but to brave the darkest of things:

womb and bone and brain.

By Ashley Loper


A fan of dark fruits, dark chocolate, and dark, rainy days, Ashley Loper started birthing poetry like gentle rabbits out of her body at a young age. Her poems draw inspiration from the natural world, the human condition, and all the equal measures of brutality and softness that exist in between. What she lacks in logic, she often makes up for in parable. You can find her literary best friends at

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