The Witch

A witch can charm milk from an ax handle.

A witch bewitches a man's shoe.

A witch sleeps naked.

"Witch ointment" on the back will allow you to fly through the air.

 A witch carries the four of clubs in her sleeve.

A witch may be sickened at the scent of roasting meat.

A witch will neither sink nor swim.

When crushed, a witch's bones will make a fine glue.

A witch will pretend not to be looking at ber own image in a window.

A witch will gaze wistfully at the glitter of a clear night.

A witch may take the form of a cat in order to sneak into a good man's
chamber.

A witch's breasts will be pointed rather than round, as discovered in
the trials of the 1950s.

A powerful witch may cause a storm at sea.

With a glance, she will make rancid the fresh butter of her righteous
neighbor.

Even our fastest dogs cannot catch a witch-hare.

A witch has been known to cry out while her husband places inside her
the image of a child.

A witch may be burned for tying knots in a marriage bed.

A witch may produce no child for years at a time.

A witch may speak a foreign language to no one in particular.

She may appear to frown when she believes she is smiling.

If her husband dies unexpectedly, she may refuse to marry his brother.

A witch has been known to weep at the sight of her own child.

She may appear to be acting in a silent film whose placards are
missing

In Hollywood the sky is made of tin.

A witch makes her world of air, then fire, then the planets. Of
cardboard, then ink, then a compass.

A witch desires to walk rather than be carried or pushed in a cart.

When walking a witch will turn suddenly and pretend to look at
something very small.

The happiness of an entire house maybe ruined by witch hair
touching a metal cross.

The devil does not speak to a witch. He only moves his tongue.

An executioner may find the body of a witch insensitive to an iron spike.

An unrepentant witch may be converted with a frttle lead in the eye.

Enchanting witchpowder may be hidden in a girl's hair.

When a witch is hungry, she can make a soup by stirring water with
her hand.

I have heard of a poor woman changing herself into a pigeon.

At times a witch will seem to struggle against an unknown force
stronger than herself.

She will know things she has not seen with her eyes. She will have
opinions about distant cities.

A witch may cry out sharply at the sight of a known criminal dying of
thirst.
 
She finds it difficult to overcome the sadness of the last war.
 
A nightmare is witchwork.

The witch elm is sometimes referred to as "all heart." As in, "she was
thrown into a common chest of witch elm."

When a witch desires something that is not hers, she will slip it into her glove.

An overwhelming power compels her to take something from a rich
man's shelf.
 
I have personally known a nervous young woman who often walked in
her sleep.

Isn't there something witchlike about a sleepwalker who wanders
through the house with matches?

The skin of a real witch makes a delicate binding for a book of common prayer.

When all the witches in your town have been set on fire, their smoke
will fill your mouth. It will teach you new words. It will tell you what
you've done.

Elizabeth Willis, "The Witch" from Address. Copyright © 2011 by Elizabeth Willis. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Address (Wesleyan University Press, 2011)
More Poems by Elizabeth Willis