Stone Telling

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Rep/ercussions (Carmina):

Reflections on Obsession and Compulsion

by Brittany Warman

You try to sing a spell/song/poem to slice through the world.
It's the same word in Latin, carmina,
And in other languages we have forgotten.
You trace your hands through reality, loving
The way your imagined power rips apart sensible words,
Replaces them with blood and berries, a language
You glimpse through rain, through silver cobwebs.
How do you understand, control these words?
A forgetting.

You try / The way / How / A

You try to read words in the tingling sensation in your fingertips,
In the way you can feel the blood sliding through your veins,
In how the universe pulses around you –
A too ripe, rotting fruit with a heartbeat.

You try /
The way /
How /

Spelling a word correctly is a casting (and you try)
But the best words are silent (the way words can be)
Like/not-like longing (how?)
(A) creation, (a) fear.

You tr
y /
The w
ay /
w / A

How these new words stick in your teeth,
Vibrate through the invisible lines of the universe.
The way they are corrupted, tainted, wrong.
Maybe you try to fix them, believe you can –
Maybe this is a lie you tell yourself.

You try / The way / How / A

You try / The way / How / A

Brittany Warman is a PhD student in English and Folklore at The Ohio State University, where she concentrates on the intersection between literature and folklore, particularly fairy tale retellings. Her creative work has been published by or is forthcoming from Mythic Delirium, Jabberwocky Magazine, Ideomancer, inkscrawl, Cabinet des Fées: Scheherezade's Bequest, and others. She can be found online at

Photography: Trapped…, by Sarah Horrigan.