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(Alexandria, 150 B.C.)



By this I bind,

this leaden square sealed up

with sacred nails,

and sworn, and buried

in dark soil

by Hades, Hecate

and every under-god:


may peaches, pears,

blue clusters of round grapes

ripe tamarinds

and all the luscious gleanings

of this fertile earth
fall, ashes at your feet

and turn your mouth to dust


that all your hopes

will be reversed, desire

go limp as twine

and cramps assail

your faithless bowels

as you twist sleepless

in your foreign bed.


I pace our corridor

bare-legged each night,

unable to forget

your touch, your husky laugh,

your delicate curved lips.

The pomegranate tree we planted

has turned black 

as my despair.

Rat's Ass Review (Fall 2023)



Lead curse tablets were used for over a millennium throughout the Classic age and a variety of cultures.  Some sought to frustrate.  Others were retaliatory or love spells. . . thrown into a well or grave to appeal to gods or devils of the underworld.  They represent an archipelago of magic practices thought to have shaped the curses in the Book of Revelation.


-- from G. Wolfe, Curse Tablets:  The History of a Technology (March 2022) and R. Schuster, “Book of Revelation was influenced by curse tablets, scholar claims,” Ha’aretz (15 Feb. 2023)

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