Blood and Moss

By Cathy Bryant



The women pluck soggy handfuls of sphagnum,
squeeze out the bog-water, and use
the thirsty moss to drink their monthly moon-flow.
they rinse out the sphagnum in the bog,
and the water flows scarlet in the sunlight.

Our friend, the moss. Soft to sleep on.
Padder of clothes in winter. In summer,
it holds water, safe from the dessicant sun.
The village’s store, tool and cup. Our friend.

It will not save me, now the crops have failed,
and my blood is to be a sacrifice. Not just
my fear but an itch of thought makes me protest:
if the women’s flows, so frequent and generous,
cannot yield harvest, then what good is the blood
of a little bog king, whose kingdom already gives
everything it can?

It does no good. The moss will drink,
and the women will dance, and life,
except for mine, will move on.



Cathy Bryant has won 27 literary awards and writing contests, including the Wergle Flomp Humorous Poetry Contest, the Balticon SF Poetry Contest, and the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and she has blogged for the Huffington Post. Cathy’s work has been published all over the world in such publications as Eye to the Telescope,The Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Futuredaze. She co-edited the anthologies Best of Manchester Poets vols. 1, 2 and 3 and has had two books of poetry published: Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature (Puppywolf, 2010) and Look at All the Women (Mother’s Milk, 2014). See Cathy’s listings for cash-strapped writers at


Featured image via Prawny, Pixabay, CCO