Dear John, I didn't want to. I didn't, I didn't, but did you know men can be madwomen if they try? Did you know the moon can be caught in a bowl of briars, and a witch can raise a son to bind up apples in his chest and red poppy flowers in his cheeks? I saw the sea flutter up like the cotton and linen of his skirts and the sun was shimmering in the crests of the waves like his eyes.

Remember when I helped you bind your chest away, my love, before you went away sailing? I did not want to, and I've kept your locket close by my heart. I promised myself to be true.

But there's a witch on the seawall and a thorn in my heart, and late one night she, the witch, unbound the apples on her chest and pressed a goblet of brew into my hand. Those herbs were like wormwood, love. And she had your eyes, and it was almost enough to sweep aside the nightmare chill when she unbound my dress and laid me down on the grasses atop the cliff.

She wasn't watching, she wasn't, when I took your father's old iron knife, the rusting one he won't explain, and put it through her unguarded back.

Dear John, my love, three days ago, the shattered figurehead of your ship washed ashore like the ship in her bottle. I swore I screamed your name when she shoved the briar into the crude thing and turned to me, watching me with eyes triumphant and love-dazed as I lay in her bed of borage and broadcloth.

So with the last bit of the briar she bound up your name and soul in, with the last bit of her herbs, I'll burn your figurehead to ashes, John. I've burnt the rest of the bandages too, and I hope we're both free from her now.

Dear John, my love, when the tide rolls in, I'll see you soon.

PostcardQuest2011 - this picture