Audrey T. Carroll is a Queens, NYC native currently pursuing her English PhD at the University of Rhode Island. Her obsessions include kittens, coffee, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Fiction International, The Fem, Feminine Inquiry, and others. Queen of Pentacles, her debut poetry collection, is available from Choose the Sword Press.

Audrey T. Carroll

Witchcraft is a Sin (And So Am I)

Memory clings like crooked lines of a palm reading while a licorice- scented childhood's edge binds nostalgia to the fire at her feet. Ridges of the old elm's grain weave the imprint of their script against flesh of pale forearms. Fear slinks closer, always closer, signals spoken without answer, each its own unknown. The celestial daddy was always cross. His promises of salvation could never anchor to this physical plane, her longing for reunions with pious predecessors unfulfilled, for he will inter her in brimstone, each trespass (forgive us, father) a crack against the everlasting in the traitor's image. For who would oppose daddy dearest but a weed, tall and proud? Torment shall shackle insurgents to the periphery of worlds, pre-ordained to never know peace, enduring proof of the cosmic power to suffocate sparks and questions: Accept the cross or accept the tormentor's knot, a noose whose inscriptions forever fasten her to the old elm, her magic a dagger's summit.

While prose poetry is my favorite to write, my favorite form next to that is the sestina. "Witchcraft is a Sin (And So Am I)" originally started as a sestina while I was teaching the form to my creative writing students one semester. I found, however, that the poem wanted to be something a little less confined, and so I took away all of the line breaks to see it with fresh eyes. While I played with making the poem traditionally line broken, nothing seemed to fit the breath and rhythm quite as well as the prose poem format. This let me concentrate more throughly on the content — on visceral images, as well as stirring feelings of resistance and persecution in the way that I wanted to — while allowing me to emphasize certain areas with the particular end words I chose via playing with spacing and margins.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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