I watch through the window
of the only house on this street not lit
by party lights, the only one where ivy grows,
the one that seems shrouded by darkness and by sorcery.
The steady sound of hoofbeats has been coming to the North
since before the beginning of time, the beginning of myth,
the court of Arthur, and still he comes, the one we call Gawain.
He does not expect a woman this time crowned in holly and ivy.
He cowers away from the blood-red berries of my eyes
and averts his gaze from the scars on my arms,
imagining some distant rite of passage
even I can no longer remember.
I have been sharpening my axe
for a long, long time, waiting for the day
my Lord will no longer have the time to play this game.
I commend his courage, speak of the mathematical percentages
of the people who would take the Green Knight’s challenge,
those who would return to meet their fate.
“You’re the only one,” I laugh aloud.
His eyes are big as portals to the Otherworld.
One day I will step through them and he will follow.
But not today because the blade of my axe just nicks
his neck, a small cut, which will leave a scar beside the others.
I straighten up with a blood-red stare and send him on his way
because my Lord and I have no more time for games.