Sitting in my family’s cabin,
Stitching away at cloth.
My brother’s play, my mother prays,
My father shines his gun.
Outside the wooden door,
Shouts ring out, the light of torches
Casting shadows like demons on our home.
There will be a hanging,
A witch was found in town.
Rope around her neck,
She was quiet, she was easily found.
Her craft was pure,
She practiced alone.
The towns women blamed her, with untrue curses
And screamed about Satan and hell.
She was my friend,
I, her mentor,
Even though we both practice the craft
I could not save her.
Later in the year,
Snow powdered the ground.
I sat in a clearing of snow,
Grinding herbs for my god.
Not the puritan’s god, never their god.
Hark! A twig snaps under a boot.
Turning my head into the biting wind,
A glove-clad hand grabbed my hair,
And dragged me through the ferns.
Soon a witch would burn.
He dragged me through town,
Tied me to a wooden pole,
And called out “Witch, Witch” for all.
Eyes wide with fear.
The man lit the fire,
My family solemn, never shedding any tears.
The flame reared up like an animal,
Hissed at my feet like a snake. My father, nor mother, ever called out my name.
I called out to the town’s folk.
My voice echoing through the air,
‘I will be born again. Wait.”
The flame licked at my hip, and swallowed me whole.
A birthmark now rests on that hip.
This is my new life.
You see me in your town,
Even in your classroom.
I’m born again, and I’ll burn nevermore.
Author ~ Ashley Burnam