The Witches Who Raised Me
A pregnant moon hung indigo
the first time I suspected mom
was in a coven. Mama sauntered like
a satellite, with a gravitational pull
only the gods knew. Sacred like soil,
divine to this den of wyvern women.
They rose as one to fill her craters,
rub silver-tongued moon dust into her
ravines. A choreographed calligraphy
of limbs. I didn’t see broomsticks
in front of the house that night, but when
my sister got her first period, my mom
and her friends celebrated her with a party,
a crown of woven dahlias, and intention,
loud and soft all at once, for everyone to see.
When it was my turn, the tradition slipped
away like a broken incantation.
Found out my mom was just a woman,
who dreams in Magic, drives two hours each day to sell
crystals, and anoints herself with a glass of Merlot.
The first spell I cast conjured resentment so acrid,
it scorched wildfire for a decade. Chardonnay-soaked
taunts scared me out of the kitchen, so I stole her salts,
dried her thyme, and mixed potions to the blaze of Bette
Midler in Hocus Pocus. Potions to forget. To blur
the stain of alcohol into a queen mother
enchantment. I cherry-picked the best
of my childhood out of a bunk-bed cauldron.
Excavated hexes from my marrow,
from every one of mom’s lessons in wolf—in wild.
Scryed for the afternoon she transformed
a hilltop into a choir, and her coven seduced
the wind with chanting hips and painted drums.
Erased the DUIs, the screams that vultured my flesh,
the supine mornings in bed, a mermaid who lost
her legs to the bottle.
Our last phone call wasn’t a call, it was a voicemail
with 47 sobs and exactly zero words.
I am careful with ritual now.
Boundaries aren’t made of alabaster
and gossamer. They are sonder and gristle.
Mom taught me that. She doesn’t
visit, or sip coffee at my dining table,
doesn't know that I stock clover honey
and half-and-half cream, just like her. She hasn’t
seen the portraits of her in every room.
But they’re not for her. They set me free
to adore each version of The Enchantress.
Each one a reminder to charm myself,
with celadon tulips and cerise verve, to fingerpaint
sunsets on my cheeks and wander the Vatican
alone, to dove a prayer to all the witches
who raised me to believe in sorcery.
In my own thumping limerence
and my own two feet, mama’s feet.
Under the sun of the Sistine Chapel, I vow
to love myself twice as much. The alchemist and the art.
Amara Tiebout (32-year-old freak) is a queer writer and editor hailing from Washington DC. She edits medical research during the day and scribbles poetry and fantasy novels in her spare time. She believes with her whole 160 lbs in social justice reform, sex positivity, healthcare and reproductive rights for all genders and bodies, and a good latte. Contact Amara at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her at @amarart.