With lyrical malevolence, Serafina Bersonsage chronicles the evolution and dissolution of a literary critic-cum-storybook villain. Frustrated with the Midwest, the titular witch flees a small town for the even smaller world of academia, where she develops a crush on a dead poet and has a date in a psych ward and renames herself at a rest stop Starbucks, before venturing deep into the woods.
These poems pair well with poisoned apples and a full-bodied red.
SMALL TOWN WITCH
Well before I cast a spell
they made a witch of me
an only child in a school of sisters
a wannabe Catholic turned heretic
a lonely prodigy
so my teacher said
staring down my shirt.
I was a witch every Halloween
but a vampire in first grade
on a random bored Tuesday, when I started
that particular rumor and caused a panic.
Two children were inconsolable;
the principal, furious.
My mother just poured more wine.
I started learning languages —
serpiente — and was curious
about Communion, and couldn’t wait
to taste —
My mother taught me early about palindromes
in this our Salem
where the schoolyard held my gallows, where I flew so that I would not swing.