your oni,

she is the ghost who echoes
in the corner,
blurred, like motion.

three-eyed and taloned,
the bride with white hair

a dragon you took
to bed, rutting

the rearing up of her chaotic head
is the undoing of mine

by Allie Marini Batts

Allie Marini Batts is an alumna of New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been nominated for the 2012 “Best of the Net Award”, as well as the Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in over 100 literary publications that her parents haven’t heard of. Allie lives in Tallahassee with her husband, where she feeds opossums on the porch and rescues treefrogs from the kitchen (they’re very adept at breaking in, it’s the sticky toes). Allie is pursuing her MFA degree in Creative Writing through Antioch University Los Angeles….oh no! It’s getting away! You can find links to Allie’s work at: http://www.kiddeternity.wordpress.com, or visit Bookshelf Bombshells at http://bookshelfbombshells.com/

What would you like us to know about “oni”?

    “your oni” is quite simply, a poem about jealousy personified.

    In traditional Japanese folklore, oni appear as clawed, horned, wild-haired creatures. Jealousy makes both me, and the woman I’m jealous of, (my rival and predecessor), this hideous titan of fury and bad luck. The oni is the spiritual force that is assigned to disasters, and often times deception, which contributed to their character being cross-culturally represented in Chinese as “ghost”.

    I took these two ideas–the raging spirit of disaster and bad feelings, and the nebulous deception of a ghost, and used this trope to express how my jealousy felt– as an anthropomorphous thing of its own–the oni–the deceptive self-doubts and insecurities of the “ghost lover”, and the way that chaos follows internally, once the oni has awoken.

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