White Witch as a Young Girl
Thick like molasses—Watch out
for your weight chorus
the church ladies, little girls
not allowed delight
from Turkey or elsewhere.
Don’t brown in the sun.
The burden of Savannah
in summer is air full of itself,
gnats like snowfall.
Envy your golden cat
stretched large like a lion.
He is ruler of the porch,
snatching men and mice
in his jaws, revered anyway.
You want to snap the necks
of girls who point
at patches of sweat under
your aching, growing breasts,
glinting like ice on your upper lip.
You wish them to stone
but it is your heart instead.
Escape the heat in your closet,
make a new world of darkness,
though there’s still the rustle
of shirts too small, too pale
against your darkening skin,
soft like your stomach, thighs,
eyes welling up. Close the door.
Bones Beneath Your Bed
Sleep with bones beneath your bed
to dream beyond the cage of the body.
Heap stones by threes at your feet
to change your life’s direction.
A feather recants, draws to your lips
what it is you have forgotten.
Palm sand for mettle; grit teeth for luck.
A pea does not work beneath a mattress—
best to use a whipping stick.
Sleep with one palm open.
Lavender oil deepens breathing; camphor
moves the blood; henbane stops a heart.
Wrap a thread around a wrist to recall; twice around
a finger for love; if necessary, the head of a wax doll.
Leap once without looking.
Cull enemies by blotting out the stars,
snuffing your bedside candle with wet fingertips.