Joan Colby


Step over a broom, you will

give birth to bastards.


Borrow or lend one, bad luck

will be your fingerprint.

Never burn one.


Strike a man with a broom,

he becomes impotent.  Strike a woman,

she loses her man.


Buy a broom in May

your friends will vanish

like ice from the mouth of a river.


Sweep after dark

luck will fly like dust

over the doorsill.


A witch rides one

across the moon while saints

cross themselves.


The gypsy lovers jump one

into poverty, a curse of travel.


Bless a new house

with a new broom

or else.





Joan Colby has published five books of poetry: The Atrocity Book, The Lonely Hearts Killers, How the Sky Begins to Fall, The Boundary Waters and Blue Woman Dancing in the Nerve.  She has over 800 poems in such periodicals as Poetry, Atlanta Review, Hollins Critic, Portland Review and Barrelhouse. Recipient of a fellowship in literature from the Illinois Arts Council, Joan works as editor of Illinois Racing News, a publication for the Illinois racing and breeding industry and lives on a small horse farm in northern Illinois.