A dream begins with a young girl who thinks herself a witch,
with long, moonlit nights and explorations of limitless futures, a trusting,
careful sounding so as to plumb the brightest one and shy from the misstep.
So young, she made you charms to protect you, to bring you peace, lived
all for you, while you stole away her voice and her choices.
She held still when you sliced your words across her skin, while you
tore the music from the harp of her broken fingers, crushed her,
the one who never conceived a man could appear alive while in the lack
of a heart. Oh this child, she kept smiling when you hung her.
When you hung her, she smiled for you,
because you were all she loved, all the world
A woman then, she raided past moments for the one small thing she’d missed, a change in the air,
a faltering, a feather, that sign of any
card unturned or omen glimpsed yet unheeded,
for the simple chance to say: Freeze.
There, that. That is what I did not see. That is where I mistook,
where I took
the wrong path, where my gifts failed me, where I
Now that was long, long ago and all magic was sorely spent. Now the undone bones
of distant melodies poke through her threadbare skin, rattle empty of tune.
The eyes of a thousand birds peer from the weeds of her hair, these harbingers. Sobs
of sorry bees echo beneath her lips long sewn tight and in age alone she gropes toward the sea
with blind eyes, no longer smiling.
Or she is simply the witch you burned.
And then it ends.
But the sweetest words are a dream begins.
First published in Cauldron Anthology Issue X Cult Winter 2019