Can’t Stop a Burning Witch

by Erin Carlyle

We set a girl to burn,
and in the ruin of her body we

stamp our feet—cake the mud
and ash. We set her to burn,

and we’ve been taught to hold
the tongue of ourselves, to kill

that ancient stone-pit in our stomachs.
The father yelled: she is not a witch

as her body was rolled
through the center of town,

and we thought, are we also dead?
The other girls met hand to hand

as she lit up the night,
and we thought, Is this all?

 

Erin Carlyle is published in journals such as Driftwood Press, and she has a chapbook with Dancing Girl Press. She is the Assistant Poetry Editor at Mid-American Review and an MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University.

 

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