Monday, November 28, 2005

31. THE WITCH'S STORY - Lawrence Raab

Everything you have heard about me
is true, or true enough.
You shouldn’t think
I’d change my story now.
A stubborn, willful little girl
comes sneaking
around my house, peering
in all the windows. She’s disobeyed
her parents, who knew
where the witch lived. “If you go,
you’re not our daughter anymore.”
That’s what they told her. I have
my ways of knowing. All pale
and trembly then, she knocks at my door.
“Why are you so pale?’
I ask, although of course
I know that too.
She'd seen what she’d seen—
a green man on the stairs, and the other one,
the red one, and then the devil himself
with his head on fire, which was me,
the witch in her true ornament, as I like
to put it. Oh, she’d seen what she needed
to send her running home,
but she walked right in, which is the part
I never understand completely. Maybe
she believed, just then,
that she was no one’s daughter anymore,
and had to take her chances, poor thing,
inside with me. “So you’ve come
to brighten up my house,”
I said, and changed her into a log.
It was an easy trick, and gave me little
Pleasure. But I’d been waiting
all day. I was cold, and even that
small fire was bright, and warm enough.