Cheryl Pappas: Let It Out

       I stole my witch from the forest. Years ago. She’s with me today, in my purse, as I walk the mossy path with my children. She is niggling and fussing in there, clamping her gums at me, slap, slap, slap. I zip her up. I show the girls the lines of an oak leaf and how they are like the constellations. You can always trace them. You just need to know how to look.
      They are young, my girls. They ask about origins, but not their father anymore. I tell them mostly what I know. But I’ve never explained about the witch.
       She nestles next to me at night, in bed, hisses that my breath is foul.
       “Do you like to burn, girl?” she says to me most nights, around two.
       My husband died at that time. He was at his lover’s house and there was a terrific fire. Not a thing left, not even a letter or a shoe.
       It was soon after that I found my witch in the forest. She was sitting on a branch over the creek. I thought she was a girl’s doll at first, but I knew. I snuck her in my purse. I knew what for.
       Today we’re here again. I might put her back. I might stuff her tiny mouth with moss. I might bury her in mud. I might drown her in the creek. I might keep her. I might have lit the match.  

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