4.5.17: To My Dearly Hunted Witch

by Paige Hauke ’19

When I was little I dressed up as you for Halloween.

Not wanting to be like all the others,
I made my costume out of garbage bags—
sliding on the slick material, belting up the oversized dress,
Encasing myself in black.

Only now do I realize just how real that costume was.

You know what it’s like, don’t you?
You didn’t want to be like all the others,
and because of it you were seen as wrapped in garbage bags—
Your skin just bloated fabric containing the greasy banana peel of your soul—
And, unlike me, you had no choice.

I envied you the truth of your enchanted life,
but it was easy for me—
I could go to my neighbors’ doors
and they would look at me and tell me how special I was
and give me candy.
Your neighbor’s never gave you candy, did they?
Congratulated you on being different?
Or maybe they did congratulate you—
And then burned you at the stake?

They say you feasted on children, sucking dry their souls to give you life,
but the only soul you’ve consumed is my own—
Consumed it with grief, with unending empathy,
and try as it might, my own passionate soul can never seem to give you life—
Too far away through the distance of time to every get it back.

I see paintings of your many faces, carvings of your so called deeds
that tell me she is evil—You are evil—
And I wonder if, in digging through my attic and finding that garbage bag dress,
I could bear to wear it now, knowing what I do,
because I am more scared of you being fake—
being no more than misunderstood—
Than I ever was of your existence.

And the only thing I wonder now, is: Is it too late to save you?

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