Tuesday, 12 November 2013


The mortice-eyed witch wanted to save that boy, the boy with the ink stains on the backs of his thumbs. She had turned so many locks just to hear the thud of the snib, just to step through a door into another castle, and she watched him sit in his garret playing with unravelling strings, and there was nothing she could understand.

The witch had potions and unctions and runes; she believed in catoptromancy. There were hung curtains between dimensions that, catlike, it was possible to slip beneath. There were sash windows on the seventh floor that could slide upwards for the leap.

But the boy thought the future was a tossed ball of string that must be followed and found, and he walked behind it.

She scattered the trails from his path with juniper berries and satin pin cushions and handfulls of gems. She whispered filthy witch words in his ears: incantations. When music played, she tapped a Morse code of fleeing beneath it: darling, won't you .-.././.-/.--. ?

The boy continued down his own tunnel, feet sticking in the heady gloop of should.

This witch was not yet ripe with confession and had not yet learned the language of her need. There were feral cats mewling inside of her and a deep, dark well with a tiny voice at the bottom. The voice in the well said "stop dropping those worn metal coins" said "where is your own rope?" said "I'm going to start sinking if you don't let me climb".  The witch drank elastic green potions and stained her teeth and hiccuped and giggled more than witches ever should.

It was easy to silence the voice with projects and she had oh so many projects, so many castle doors, so many boys, so many strange scarlet pains, so many promises. Gathered them all up in a fat red sack and carried them to all of her wells at once and upended the sack and everything--yes!--comes tumbling down.

If she could say just one thing to the boy it should have been: come with me, motherfucker. You don't need me to save you, you have never needed me to help you escape. Need is a word built of hollow sticks and hit donkeys. Need is a tongue stuck behind its own teeth.

If she could say just one thing it should have been: I want you. I want you to come with me; I want you to take my hand and drag me hapless and helpless behind you. I want to tie both of us up in your own ends of thread. I want to bite you. I want to be with you. I want you to want me the most.

The problem with spells is that after you have cast them, it is impossible to know whether the swoon is from the sweetness or the sorcery. The trouble with incantation is that it is one thing to bewitch but another to step outside with all your skin on the outside and ask someone to like you, please. The problem with this is that everything gets so tangled and you start to rely on winking and it is easy to decide that you don't have to put yourself out there. A witch can trick you into thinking you've never seen her cry.

1 comment: