The Little Witch


As a child I read a book about a witch who turned children into flowers

and kept them in pots. She went out witching each night and left her daughter

at home with the weeping plants. Tormented, the girl tested her mother’s powders.

Orange Flakes/Gold Dust/Purple Chalk that smoked and lit, but she failed

to free the children with roots for feet. Naturally, reading, I saw myself

as the witch’s child and not an adolescent in a pot. But now those girls

with fingers for soil and aphids crawling over their necks!

At the end of the book (forgive me) they came back, un-hexed at last

by the Red Powder. They stood in shattered earthenware, twigs in their teeth,

never having known they were plants! And I can’t shake my suspicion, especially

when I’m most content. I reach around with my feet, search the air with my fingers,

feeling for a smooth wall or rough edge, whatever it is, invisibly containing me.