Sleeping Arrangements in Howl’s Moving Castle

I want to lick him. Howl. I want to watch him 

disrobe. I want to take Sophie’s place, warm myself 

by Calcifer. In my broken places, the light 

spreads. In my body, 

across my ruins, the broken statuary, 

pillars, and plinths. The light is supple in Ingary. 

It doesn’t spear, nor does it hurt. 

It is the shape of a caress, a willing wish, 

a hand cupping water from a cold, snow-fed stream. 

I want to watch Howl’s hands 

as he shapes his magic. I want 

to watch his fingers. He was a bird, once. 

A monster. 

I want to eat his feathers, 

to take them onto my tongue, to swallow 

their memories. 

Grass grows inside my chest, 

and the light is like butter, 

and that makes it worse, somehow. 

You only expect witches in the dark. 

No one expects a sun-warmed scarecrow

pointing the way. Little white flowers push 

through my every ragged crack. Moss blinds. 

It is a green sea as the castle 

moves its bulk overhead. It is emerald. It is victory, 

having this. How many can say they have this? 

Quiet moments to look at him, to imagine him, 

stolen times of tea with this wizard of great repute. 

Ghosts dance the day away in locked cupboards. 

There is fire in the sky—

How can you not kneel? 

How can you not feel loss halt in this place? 

I am no milliner. I am no woman.

 If he let me, I would climb inside him. 

His heart, a pillow. Howl. 

My bed, across the hall from his. His back, the 

curve of a river. Cool and lovely 

and helpless.

Jared Povanda is a writer, poet, and freelance editor from upstate New York. His work has been published in numerous literary journals including Wigleaf, The Citron Review, and Uncharted Magazine. You can find him online @JaredPovanda,, and in the Poets & Writers Directory

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