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Gwrach y Rhibyn

by Richard Stevenson

Och, Dhuu! It was the Gwrach y Rhibyn
and not a woman that came knocking
at my window last night. Screamin’ banshee
she was — gaunt, chalk-faced, black-toothed,
bat-winged hag bangin’ and callin’ my name
in a gravelly, grating, drawn-out taunt,
“Da-a-a-vy De-ei-o-o-o-ba-a-a-ach!”

Be thankful you Canadians have a big-eyed
hootin’ owl to bring the sombre uniformed
knock-on-the-door, hat-in-hand news
from nature. This bitch ain’t natural at all!
Her decaying fangs look like pitched gravestones
around the vacant plot that is her mouth,
arms and legs wizened, body cadaverously thin.

I’d say she’s more spectral than skeletal,
but — damn! — I wasn’t undoin’ the sash
and invitin’ her in for tea, a closer look-see.
I got up when she dropped down a floor
and started bangin’ on Hank’s window,
then flew over to the parsonage. Saw her
fly past opened front doors. Saw her no more.

Next day, the parson’s bit the big one.
Gwrach y Rhibyn’s long gone, though
no one claims to seen her come or go.
I tell ya, she’s a demon. Real as cancer
and not the lavender granny you wanna
be hangin’ onto on the dance floor
when your dance card number comes around.

Gwrach y Rhibyn, hair dishevelled,
eyes obsidian black, sunken
above high-boned cheeks, gums receding...
Needle-like teeth. Don’t wanna meet her
out on the heath or in a library book.
She plays for keeps; you won’t be settin’ up
no second dinner date. Shutter your windows now!

The Gwrach y Rhibyn’s got slender female hands,
but those are talons, not fingernails, she’s sportin’.
Don’t wanna let her get her hands on you,
skinny and cadaverous though she be. She’s a shape-shifter,
mister; she’s not gonna present herself as a hag
when you first lay eyes on her She’s gonna be
the Dance Hall Queen, most buxom babe you’ve ever seen.

Don’t fall into the pools of her eyes; you’ll dissolve.
She’s the original acid queen, believe me!
Supernatural vixen. Don’t know what she’s fixin’
to do with yer sorry hide. Gwrach y Rhibyn —
bitchin’ bodacious badass supreme in her salad days;
cleans up well even when she shape-shifts still.
Och dhuu, Don’t I know the deep, dark tune she sings.

Copyright © 2018 by Richard Stevenson

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