Poetry from S. Preston Duncan

Photo: Luke Porter

You Don’t Steal from the Witch’s Garden

This girl had flowers
in her arms
………ink from Araby
……embraces like curry
in a burning room
or a spice market
on its side.

When she
touches you it is
the way children splash
in aspects of autumn and
marigolds always face you

You can be wiped from the corner
of an all-seeing eye.

there is that kind of heat
in some hands.
there is palo santo
and self-immolation
no painting is safe


S. Preston Duncan is a caregiver and BBQist in Richmond, Virginia, and is currently training as an End of Life Doula. Recent aspirations include becoming the Jason Isbell of literature, stealing death’s laughter, and transcendental pimento cheese. He is the former Senior Editor of local arts and culture publication, RVA Magazine. His poetry has appeared or been selected to appear in Tulane Review, Circle Show, Levee Magazine, Unstamatic, Bottom Shelf Whiskey, and RVA Magazine (outside of editorship).


  1. Crystal Barltrop says:

    I always take great pleasure in S.Preston Duncan’s poetry. It’s a feast in a famine. It is the light cast from the dwindling match in the darkness. I find a soothing comfort within each line wrapping it about me like silk or well worn sweater staving off the cold calamity of our current state of affairs. Thank you for this little treat.

  1. […] This poem received a Best of the Net nomination from Atlas and Alice, where it originally appeared. […]

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