The witch hikes up her loathsome rags,
hunkered down in a stone hovel
with the patience of a tick bite.
She opens the door to call them in
for their morning grain, the pail a charm
hung on the barbed hook of her arm.
The flock lopes down the sour slope,
wades into a fickle lake of fog.
In a nearby wood, stags rake antlers
through the brush, against trees
whose leaves persist inside a book
laying open on the hearth.
The harvest is strung along the mantel,
heretical blossoms with thin limbs
bound with twine, the fire helping
to cure them, wick their essence
from the air. The goats emerge, pinching
the valley’s breast with their clumsy
mob of bells. Faith without hunger.
Shane Chergosky was born in Minnesota where he was raised on stuffed cabbage and heavy metal. His work has appeared in Blue Mountain Review, Arcturus, Frontier Poetry, and is forthcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal. He teaches at George Mason University where he is an MFA Candidate in poetry.
Artwork: Max Liebermann, Woman and Her Goats in the Dunes, 1890.