Giulia Tofana

Hannah Elliott

I – the toxin
pearly grey bane in palm sized perfume bottles
two drops added to beetroot soup and served for supper
so the antidote can dissolve their cruelty
like flaking frost in the midday sun
sinking its teeth into wicked, brutish fists
making them limp as their lacking life

II – the crime
gentle and mellow as a feather falling
they lean back into that eternal sleep
whilst maidens of belladonna
wander the wriggling lanes of Rome
peddling their wares to those in need

III – the woman
voice in the mist that whispers liberation
witch, concocting the answers by moonlight
mother to the desperate brides
fowler of husband’s souls
snipping the thread of life with her sewing scissors.

Hannah Elliott (she/her) writes about women, nature, wanderings of the mind, and the otherworldly – even if it’s being found in the ordinary. She has work published with Small Leaf Press, Nymphs, Lovers Eye Press, and Celestite Poetry. More of her words can be found on her blog,, or her twitter, @HannahAngelina5.