Last Night a Witch

(Pocket Poetry)
by Joan Mazza 


Mother Dobbins was the first to say she saw me
shapeshift into a cat, then back into a woman,
mistaking my cat for me. She set the town against me,
though I am guilty only of being old and ugly,
a poor widow without children to care for me.

They say I have the power to call up storms
to damage houses, crops, kill livestock, that I do so
by digging a hole on Musgrove Hill
and stirring wine within it. I do not keep wine
or spirits. Would that I had such power,

I would have happily undone that long drought
we suffered in these parts, for which Miss Martha
was blamed. They stabbed her until she confessed,
then burned her alive. All the town came out
to watch and cheer as she screamed in pain.

I, on the fringe of the crowd, was already suspect.
My fate will be the same tomorrow and they will
burn my cat with me, another sorceress.
Of consorting with the Devil, I do not know him,
have only loved my one husband, dead twenty years.

No God or devil will save me or hear my cries.
They want my home, this bit of land.
I do not have a broom that flies. Would I not fly
away? I am already flying— ashes on the wind.
My bones are dust.

Copyright © 2022 – Joan Mazza. All rights reserved.

About the Author 

Joan Mazza

Joan Mazza worked as a microbiologist and psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her poetry has appeared in Crab Orchard Review,  Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Slant, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia.

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