MUSED Literary Magazine.
Poetry

Witch Hunt: Salem -- dedicated to Rebecca Nurse

Cynthia Pitman

Step in. Itís cooler in here.
Darker, too, though.
She must have heard them coming.
They came by night, cloaked in darkness:
Men. Horses. A wagon.
A righteous mission.
There. By the fireside.
She must have waited there.
The fire warmed her pill box house
as her family gathered around her
seeking solace and strength.
She was a good Christian woman.
She must have been praying to God --
to a god whose Bible
said she must die.
For a mark. A mumble. A rat. A cat.
She had them all.
She must have known it was useless.
She was helpless against them.
They had power. Zeal. Torches. Rope.
She must have gone calmly and piously.
That was her way.
She had gotten old being that way,
day after day, faithfully.
She had tended the fields,
the flowers, the fires, but mostly her family --
her straitlaced husband and her eight children.
who now gathered around her,
struck silent by fear.
She must have realized
she would be jailed,
whipped, starved, tortured,
then hanged from the gallows,
left to swing there in the dark night
until she was cut down and buried
in the hard, cold earth.
No one knows where.
Step out, now. Step out.
Watch the light. It can hurt your eyes.