The Witching Hour

After hours the soft moonlight slips
along the crack of the doors, the windows

are illuminated like the back of a
movie theater screen, and the witches

step out, throw themselves from
rooftops on broomsticks. Some lay low,

preferring not to cast a silhouette on
the moon–hedge witches are quieter

than their kin, those who converge
into parties. Call them covens or not,

they’ll still weave their craft and toss
it across the sleeping village, spells

like nets to catch the nightmares
rampaging in the brains of those

who slumber restlessly tonight.
The moon is full. The hours slip,

and the witches assume their posts.
The diagrams are laid out, the bottles

emptied, the incantations practiced.
They work at night to keep from

being seen, suspected, blamed
for the latest life upending–yet here

they are, tonight, the fingers twining
invisible nets together, perhaps a

spark or glow as a note that work
is, indeed, being done–this is

a quiet thing, no drama, no explosions
in the village square, no explusion

all at once of dark dreams from brains
turning to mush in full moonlight,

less ritual, more programming. And
when they cannot stay awake,

even the witches resign to try again
another night soon, tell each other

“good morning,” fly back to their beds,
let day pass over their sleeping faces.



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