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Upon Being Called a Witch at Age 15

When I tell the story

it sounds like a joke?

“Are you a witch?”

Classmates twittered

as he jabbed

a bratwurst finger

and I burned red

from the tits up.

“I said. Are. You. A. Witch.”

Whatever I’d have said

wouldn’t have mattered.

Minds were made up

before John was a Baptist.

“The BIBLE says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”

I was such a good girl

long skirts

locked knees

but a treachery

of questions.

And weaker sexes than mine

have burned for less.

“First Samuel Fifteen Twenty-Three”

That day wasn’t the one

that broke me but

it left a crack—that’s how

the magic gets in.

“I sense a spirit of rebellion in you”

Patriarchs demand submission.

If you cannot bend you must

break or begone. I left

slowly, heart first.

Years later my feet

caught up.

“so you must be a witch.”

01.19 | New Hymns