Issue 3poetry

The Business of Witches

Joel LeBlanc

 The business of witches

 is one of harvesting truths like plants

 of predicting babies

 and midwifing divorces,

 taking midnight phone calls

 from love haunted sisters

 and keeping omens of death

 to ourselves.

 We are not of our parents;

 the land made us,

 and cats and rats and rabbits

 dance in our footsteps.

 Young though I was

 and unable to know why

 the houses frightened me

 or why his touch awakened mine,

 I did know the business of witches

 was to know things, and be silent.

 Witches have to remember it all

 so you can sleep, and forget:

 the humming of poisons

 from your back garden,

 curses of small feathers

 dropped in your path,

 the divination of dead things

 in a lover's eyes.

 No good Christian home

 with children and mortgages

 and television lights

 to keep out ancient darkness

 would ever be enough

 to swallow me.

 The land made me

 and the business of witches

 is to be worthy of burning 

Joel LeBlanc is a poet, pastry chef, medical herbalist and freelance writer. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals including Semaphore Magazine, Poetry NZ, and Takahe. Joel lives in New Zealand with his husband, 4 dogs and 2 cats – some of which may or may not have once been human.