Chris Tusa
  Lone Willow Press, 2002
 

The Spirit of Bridget Bishop

Bridget Bishop was the first person convicted of witchcraft in Salem. Suspicion initially arose after someone claimed to have seen her spirit in the rafters of the Putnam barn. She was executed by hanging on June 10, 1692.
---Life and Times of Bridget Bishop


I was born in the dark
corner of a barn, conceived
in a drop of sheep's milk,
squeezed into this bitter world
by a farmer's callused hand.

Most mornings I rise like steam
from the muscled backs of horses.
In the afternoon I'm dust
settling on floorboards,
a twitch in a goat’s neck.

All day I drift in the dusty
light of the hayloft,
forever in a blue halo of flies,
high above the cows

with their agnostic eyes
and the heretical black map
of their backs, the pigs
shinning like pink buddhas.

It’s only a matter of time
before my voice scurries
along the rafters of the barn,
before gossip flutters

in the branches of trees
and the word witch ripens
in townspeople's mouths.

 

--originally published in The New Delta Review

Chris Tusa

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