In Finland the children dress as witches on Palm Sunday
and banish evil spirits in exchange for candy.
I wish we could do that on my favorite day in church,
when we’d wave palm fronds as if God himself
were going to walk down the mauve-carpeted aisle.
I didn’t care for jelly beans and Easter always seemed
dispiriting. Where is my teacher? Where have you taken him?
I still hear Mary’s plaintive question, the story of the gardener
turned savior in the mist of Easter’s morning sun.
What’s missing from your life, asks the evangelist
at my doorstep, with a pamphlet featuring cross
and beams of light. Like Nancy Drew, I need
to solve this case. What’s missing? It should be obvious
I’m a bit of a mystery girl, a lover of conspiracy theories.
Was Mulder’s sister an alien? Who really rolled away the stone?
And what about that locked trunk in the clock tower?
When is the father also the devil? And why was his name
the morning star? The idea of fallen angels
always seemed real to me. That I could believe in,
a narrative where the once-faithful become estranged.
Like an Easter basket full of plastic grass that chokes
the cat and candy that will remain uneaten,
I admit a lot of answers remain ignored. I’m
happily oblivious now, like the haze marring the pink
moon, waving a twig to ward away witches,
asking my neighbors in for egg salad and
content with my vase of daffodils, its short-lived radiance.
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, which won the Moon City Press Book Prize and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.
Artwork: Easter Witch, public domain