Tiffany Chaney: Sabbat for My Sisters
Michał Parzuchowski

Michał Parzuchowski

Sabbat for My Sisters


The bone fire with its crimson lips
broke a kiss upon my forehead;
a branch with a twisted tie
stroked my neck so that I knew
it wouldn’t

The skin peeled away
the desire to breathe but just
die, unafraid to burn
so bones become like wood
not burning to a crisp,
but shining, polished in flame.

The women dance around my
exquisite corpse
drinking the merlot on a Sunday
picking bones out of their teeth
and singeing their hair by the fire.

Ring around the rosy,
a pocket full of posies
they sing, and then they
all fall down.

And the branch with its twisted
tie strokes away all flaming lies
glimmering in the embers.


The sabbat of Shakespearian sisters
passes between lines
of Woolf, Plath, and Belieu.
The bone fire livid and alive
as caskets are laid bare
language written not upon rotten limbs
but pure shining bone
our unconscious collective
and no mere satellite.

Dearest sisters,
Woolf, Olsen, Dickinson, Mirabel, Marvin, Plath, Belieu…
a chant to rival
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna…

Sacred, so buried
Sin, so burned
Scribe, to each sister a room
be it the casket, the closet,
or the self, at last,
solitary and rendered whole.
Sing, my sisters,
and dance.


Something is beginning in my bones.
Somewhere in the hollow
where the marrow—still a pool,
lies protected and confined
my writer’s fool.

Dangling by his toes, he
knocks knocks knocks.
The fool is in my marrow, and
I must knock back twice.
The sound is dull inside, but
something is beginning there.

The laughter grows until
it is my own, and my writer’s
fool has become a madwoman.

Take me to the nunnery!
Take me to the mental ward,
but I will not serve convention
a day longer in Truth’s despair!
The fool is in my marrow
where we buried Shakespeare’s
sister with the remnants of her spurned
scrolls, we women privy to not even each other’s
word, mouth once so sewn
and singed open to begin
a new year this night.

Gather sisters and sing
words, dance your dance
around the bone fire.
For we dig not our graves,
but a collective womb
inside our Mother.

Editor's Note: This appeared on our old site.

Tiffany Chaney is an artist and writer residing in North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Salem College in 2009. Her works in poetry and fiction have appeared in Ophelia Street, Pedestal Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review (InstaPoetry) and Thrush Poetry Journal, among others. Her poetry collection Between Blue and Grey won the 2013 Mother Vine Festival Award for Best in Poetry. Discover more about her at