Kate LaDew

a statue of the virgin mary was accused of being a witch

and, giving no reply either way, 
the men in charge sentenced her to trial by water 
throwing the statue into the nearest river
it floated, as wooden things do, 
and, after being declared guilty, was retrieved, 
surrounded by the chanting men and swiftly burned 
minutes or hours or days later, 
a little girl crept towards the ashes of the virgin mary statue 
that was now, officially, just the remnants of a dead witch 
when the little girl dug her fingers into the dirt, she stifled a cry 
pulling back hands red like fire with either the devil’s magic or god’s grace
giving in to the sudden urge to press her burning palms to her heart
the little girl felt herself light up as a thousand sparks of electricity 
shot out of her fingers, her eyes, her toes, the edges of her hair
rooted between the dark of the earth and the blue of the sky she stood
fiery hands outstretched, heart ablaze, eyes reaching up up up—
when the men in charge found her, 
not one could touch the air without being burned

Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.  She resides in Graham, NC with her cats, Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.

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