To the Witches of Salem,

I have not forgotten you,
though the world turned
the charred ash from your bones to ink,
turned your torture into ghost
stories for children to read
by the fire—

You left this world the way you came
into it, burning
in desire, they said, you had to be a witch.
How else could a woman think for herself?
Speak for herself? They torched
the fight out of you, tied
rocks to your feet, sent you

sinking

No survival in a phantom magic,
point their fingers—blame,
the widow,

the stubborn child,

the midwife,

the beggar,

the slave,

Like a stain on the Reverend’s shirt,
they blotted out the unclean
from these chapel walls, justified
with holy conviction.

I will not forget you, instead,
I will raise Salem’s army

from the ashes, brand myself—

witch,

tie myself to the pyre, strike
the match,

for I am a

nasty woman,

angry woman,

raging woman,

won’t shut up

and sit still woman,

unruly woman,

disobedient woman,

I will spark my own flint,
raise my own chaos, give them
a holy reason to suffocate
in their own paranoia, for
righteous fury is more terrifying
then rumors of Devil’s magic—
my wrath will be biblical,
and it will
drag them all

down.

Amid the rubble, I will leave
an offering of hollyhock
on your unmarked grave

Chaise Robinson

 

Chaise Robinson is an English Writing student from Kentucky. My previous publications include: ‘We Were Once Strangers’ and ‘She Will Always Amaze Me’ in Kentucky’s Best Emerging Poets (Z House Publishing 2018), ‘Home’ and ‘I Have Fallen’ in Aurora: Online Literary and Arts Journal (2017–2018).

© 2019