HomeSouthern VoiceMusings of a Postmodern Hill Witch

Musings of a Postmodern Hill Witch

by Elizabeth Burton

I come from a long line
Of witchy women:
Tea-leaf readers,
Prophetic dream havers,
Deliverers of babies,
Women who could
Remove a wart
With a string tied
Around your finger
And something buried
In the backyard.
They had the kind
Of power that seems
Peculiar to women
From the hills,
The kind of affinity
That can only come
From having mountains
Tuck you to sleep
At night, of having
Your veins opened
And splayed across
A map as rivers.

I figured it had passed me
By. After all, suburbia
Is no place for witchy women:
Too many houses,
Not enough places to hide.
The woods are shoved
Away, out of view.
Forget urban sprawl:
The real enemy
Of the witch is suburban
Organization, everything
Meticulously gridded
And planned. How can
One subvert the laws
Of nature when nature
Has been so far subdued
She might as well not
Exist in the first place?

No, I thought
The witchiness of my
Family had died
When we had moved
Down from the hills
And into the suburbs.
But, if that were the case,
How do I feel so powerful?
Why do I feel as if the rain
Is falling directly toward
My skin, or that the flowers
Are opening because
I willed them to?
I could never feel
As if the world rested
Between my hips
If I were simply ordinary.
I could never feel
As if I held magic
Between my lips
If I were simply a girl.

Elizabeth Burton is a student of English and Philosophy at Lexington, Kentucky’s Transylvania University, where she is co-prose editor of their literary magazine, the Transylvanian. A Kentucky native, Burton is fascinated by the Southern Gothic aesthetic and a fan of Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. She has had work published in the Yeah Write! Writer’s Review, the Albion Review and the Transylvanian. When not writing, she likes to drink sweet tea, knit and try to find time to do her homework. Read her poem Inheritance here

Literary Friday, Edi