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Doug D'Elia

Dead Witches in Cold Well Water



Must be the season of the witch.

Must be the season of 

Shape shifters, mischievously

biting and pinching.


Must be the season to hear the

rattle of wagon wheels and

tired nags snorting cold air

as they trudge through the mud

under the weight of condemned witches

slouching towards dreary Gallows Hill,

where pitch black crows

pass the time on wooden crossbars.


Must be hanging season again.

Were young children are obliged

to attend public displays

of the macabre as a

deterrent to immoral impulses.


Must be the season

to watch bodies spinning

from creaky scaffolds, feet

frantically searching for higher ground,

and faces turning the color of ripe eggplant.


Must be the season to question

why our children are prone to

hysteria, and why they would

seek other counsel?


Must be the season to entertain

clergy, gathered to fast

and pray, to exhort exorcism,

seek confessions from

twisted contorted bodies,

convulsing on the floor.


Must be the season to parade

our children from town to town

cruelly using them like a divining rod

to point out the accused,

guilty of nothing more than

enjoying a midnight

walk among the twinkle of

stars and the glow of a full moon.


Must be the season of


The season to

whip the carnal body till demons

seek refuge elsewhere.

The season to lower pagans

into the dark abyss of the shaft,

to sit in cold well water

till night’s shadow

covers the hole

and no one comes

to draw water.


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