the fool and the witch

talking to yourself again
you fool
she has already run

brewing potions
in a hidden home the witch is
so smart so tuned
with every hurtful cocktail every shrug
-ging self-defense
every who? me?
every i tried
the recipes repeated to
perfection well-prepared

the witch knows best of books
strange books
in other-worldly languages
you are always left confused

she speaks in
and in spells
rationalization and
excuse so beautiful
you beg for it
yet still the witch
to the one who loves her and slips
her poison in at night while he

face-to-face combat is
not possible
your eyes in hers
deception’s antidote
your hands in hers would still
her tongue
she cannot let it

she has broomsticks to fly
where you cannot
smokescreens to hide where
you cannot
wands like cupid’s bow
to alter outcomes
bleed old
habits pound
your soul
change your life
from afar

all her experience
all her expertise
in long-range war
she keeps her

voo-doo dolls and hexes
are her words for
words are curses to her
three holy words in ancient
combination and she’s
she will never hear it
she will never
let you
say it

the witch stays in sound-
and love-
proof houses
appears only on the board when
each piece is
orchestrated in her favor
she cannot understand the fool
‘s heart
dancing as it does
smiling in the sun
just outside her door

the witch moves underground
pops her
through floor boards when the moon rises
sets off like a morning alarm
it’s time! she cheers
as if something had been over
much has been over
-come yet nothing 
has been over
-come but time
the only thing from which she cannot run

in false victory
humility she makes her entrance
it’s all a show
and this is act three where the witch
with all pre-cautioned kindness
requests forgiveness
you grant it as
she knew you would
you fool
she got what she came for
she has no further use for you

you reach as if your eyes were hooks
your open mouth a reel locked in one
-der dis-
believing, useless
her smile is the real
she’s friendly like it’s a service

the witch knows best of books
she closes
the witch knows best of check-lists for her recipes
twelve-steps to her are
numbers followed clearly for neat narratives
though you have marched a thousand
in her name because
the fool
knows one thing
is messy, long, and rare
she concocts a new
life with

“i want us to have history”
“one day i will tell you all these things”
i am waiting
she is crossing
off the list

the witch never takes the
arranged and pre-arranged
the future
that surest of things
she knows what you will say
before you
say it
thus she knows
exactly when and where to
let you
and if your words surprise her
she quickly calls retreat

and if she sees
three melting words
with steady purpose
-d march
she snaps her fingers like
your throat and dis-
appears before your heart
can crawl into
her ears

so get back to your feet
you fool
keep marching

edited significantly in early August of 2015 to add the cupid line as well as many new line-breaks and enjambments


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