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Jude Cowan Montague



The bearskin began to rot
making his rashes itch
like the devil's arse.

Cutting his nails
the green-coat sighs, abandoning
the idea of freedom.

The youngest one
fulfils her father's promise
because she's the youngest.

Three months
in the house of the monster
and the bride can play the bagpipes.


The hare hopped past
and the woodman left off his chopping
as instantly as the rain drops.

Little fox, betrayed,
rages round
the tree, twenty times.

Under the new moon
his paw looks different,
silver even.


Her only wish
was to wake up
with the heart of a dead bird.

Three meals a day.
Too much for a dragon
who longs for his bed of garnets.

The inner door opened
to reveal a charcoal forest
and the mouth, calling.


Copper wood,
silver fish, gold river.
A starving child broke off a branch.

'You're touching my wood,'
roared Upside-down Troll,
his face uprooting.

His back as soft as her dream,
the doctor nailed
an iron shoe to her left foot.

The sky turned black.
She catches the shock of the bull
losing the second game.

True to his word,
her eldest brother began
to wash the bloody forest, leaf by leaf.

Only afterwards
she realised the shirts
came from the witch's house.

Her feet heal perfectly.
While she moves,
the river breathes.


A bird with a stick.
In her skirt she has folded
a bannock buttered with curses.

She drifts awake
for ten nights,
propping both eyes open with nuts.

The challenge:
to watch over a dead human.
At three, it lifts itself on an elbow and grins.

Black cats and dogs
spread from her unspoken knees,
pushing towards the corners.

She performs a ghost
out of the cold air
(she learned how in the other place).

The kettle boils in fear
and all his teeth
turn around.


My man is of the hill-folk.
He opens the hatch-door to my heart
and peers down.

A cleft to a staircase
leading to an underground fate.
I bring my hoodie and a sister's sickness.

Descending the veins
I pass into the pickled cave.
Hm, a giant row of provisions.

Do not go home.
The world is camouflaged as the world.
(I class this tale under Group A).

I climb into a sack,
sure I will be a good deal heavier
when I come back to life.

Up the thought-trail
the goat's wound's closing
and I'm cooking dinner by the zebra crossing.

He demands.
I nod, purring,
having substituted my answer with a straw-woman.

➥ Bio