Sometimes I stand in the shower
Cold water turned off
Scalding water raining down on me like cinders
My skin goes through a transformation
Milk white, then new born pink, then cattle brand red
In that moment when all the blood rushes up and my skin threatens to bubble,
I remember the cords around my wrists
The way the sap from the stake penetrated the hand spun cotton of my dress.
How many people there were gawking, both aroused and appalled
Hiding behind and covering their eyes with their holy claims.
The urgency in their eyes,
the hunger that would have pulled my meat from the bone if the flames didn’t take.
I remember the rush of heat, of pain, of cosmic elation as the smoke found a new home in my lungs,
throwing out all the oxygen that has once resided there.
It thickened my blood and blocked my nose,
Fervent prayers weighing down the blanket of flame
that consumed me.
I remember I was gone before the body was done,
before my meat and fat had melted like candle wax
the salivating audience ,ready for my ashes got them on their tongue
proof they saw an abomination erased, stayed until the moon rose high
my body becoming the smoke that itched their nose and stayed in their clothes for weeks to come.
I remember they put my remains with the animal waste
and then wondered why their crops didn’t return, even with the manure.
I remember the cries of hunger, of pain, of violation as the little village
became nothing more than an empty field again.
You say you’re the granddaughters of the witches they forgot to burn.
I was burned.
And I remember.
Poetry has long been a love of mine.
It started with my love of country music. In grade school, I was convinced I was going to grow up to be a songwriter. I’d write song after song, no music just lyrics. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of my depressive preteen years that I figured out, lyrics with out music are just a poem. I devoured poems (and paper writing my own) throughout my teenage and young adult years. Then adult life struck and being a mom and wife forced my writing to go into hibernation. That seems to be changing now. Some of it has to do with reading Lisa Lister’s book Witch. Some of it has to do with having some amazing friends who inspire me every day to be more authentic. Some of it is because I’m waking up. And I’m thankful for it all.