BANSHEE by Jessica Drake-Thomas



by Jessica Drake-Thomas


When I woke, it was dark.

I could hear


I could see


Just shadow and gray light,

filled with the scent of smoke,

bruised petals,

sick, sweet.


My limbs locked in paralysis,

wrapped in the embrace

of an iron coffin.


I called out:                                                                               



I think I’m



from the inside out

golden skin splitting, turning to ash,

flakes glittering, swirling on dry, crackling air.


There was nothing,

no response.



Once, I was a small child,

chasing ghost trains in the mist.


The ground, damp beneath my bare feet,

as rain slipped down

the blue leaves of the hyacinths I carried.


In the tree beside me,

hanging from branches like witches’ fingers,

frayed ropes and the Nine of Swords danced in the wind.


A man wearing a coat

like the silence behind the stars

stepped around the witch-tree,


shot me in the cheek.


I watched my blood sink into the ground,

death wrapped itself about me,                 

a winedark stain,


and birds flew out of the tree,

susurrations of wings beating like my slowing pulse.



Here I am, the dead returned

to walk the burned earth,


howling up at the slice of a moon, thin like a knife.


When I woke, I screamed my name into the void

and something ancient answered,


breath scented with grave dirt.



Jessica Drake-Thomas is a poet, writer, and book blogger. She has college degrees from Tulane, Emerson, and the U of A. Her work has been featured in Ghost City Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Grimoire. I am the poetry editor at La Scrittrice.

(Pronouns: she/her)