This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by James Gendron. 

from Weirde Sister

I have a ring that throws up when a cat dies

I have a ring where instead of a jewel it has one of God’s baby teeth

I have a ring commemorating my marriage to a green skull with the wings of a moth

I have a ring that controls the barometric pressure of seven local microhabitats

I have a ring that protects me from not having any rings

As long as I have this ring, I shall have rings

I sleep on a bag of wizard eyes

I have a parka stuffed with bat down

When I walk sometimes by mistake I fly to hell

I sacrificed a wax infant to a wax demon

Made of wax from when the moon was waxing

Like Pope John XXII I keep a magic snake skin that detects poison

I took Anna Hos’s husband to Maramaros and put six-hundredweight of salt on him

I have a book with a different-colored fire coming off each page

I have a book that tells the story of the Bible but this time it’s true

I have a book of cauldron-ready recipes because I only eat foods I can prepare in my cauldron such as chili

I have a book called Sexual Boat (Sex Boats)

I have a library in the evil part of space

I believe in much that cannot be seen with the human eye

I fly around the moon on a piece of wood

I have a doll of myself and am the doll of another 

I wear a perfume that only cats can hear

I have a feline familiar

She has a soul in her head and another in her tail

She has a saddle so the devil can ride

She sacrificed a butterfly to the devil

We can be each other when the candle dies

We nap in the gardens where human livers flower

We drink milk—we love milk—skunk milk

She was lost one day in the heather

The gleaming rose of her anus vanishèd between hermaphroditic flowers

I called from the top of a pile of widows’ tears

I called from the top of the highest hill in my tapestry

Serpents drifted back and forth from the afterlife

I exhumed a stillborn infant and dried it in my hands

Waited nine months

Several rat-sized animals cavorted in my body

Then I felt her kill and eat them

After I bore her she cleaned my womb with her tongue

We turned into a wolf with the head of a wolf

We made it cold outside

I have many nontraditional pets

I have a dracula that reappears whenever I need a dracula

I do art

I create “works”

And when I gaze upon the soft infinite ocean I feel proud to have invented it 

But most of all

I am a witch because people hate me and no one knows why

When I stalk the village lane at midnight with the mirror coat

I hear the whispers

I hear the feeble locks slide into place

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).