Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday Poem: A New One In The Witch Series

The Night Witches - 1941

Flew over the Soviet Union,
bombing the Nazis
in wooden planes
no one else wanted to fly.

They wore saggy
ill-fitting men’s
uniforms, flew
without parachutes,
got frostbite on their faces
in open cockpits,
and cut their engines
to glide in over their targets.

Russian women who didn’t
care whether they lived
or died, flying so low
you could see their faces
glowing against the sky.

The Germans said they took
magic pills that gave them
night vision. They laughed
and painted their lips with
navigational pencils, drew
flowers all over their planes.

Tuesday Poem: A New One in the Witch Series

Witch’s Test

She has been put into the furnace
and reborn again. She has held
the orange coals like bright candy
up to her lips, as Isaiah once did,
to purify them for speaking the truth.
She has nursed the sick and dying, in
rooms filled with the smell of nightsoil
and decay. She has kept several drunken
men at bay with her words, and if words
failed her, she didn’t hesitate to pick up
a knife. She has been a faithful wife,
opening herself to affection and eros,
giving him the gift of her keen sight,
her humor inciting and sharing his
laughter. She has felt both new life
and small death sliding from her
in a rush of waters and pain, she has
taken long walks in the rain to keep
from weeping overmuch in front
of the children, she has taken flight
without so much as a broom or wing,
taking everything in going on below,
tried to use her knowings wisely.
She vowed to do only good with
whatever amplitude of spirit she’d
been given, always aspired toward
Heaven, though she suspects its
less of a place and more like a
pleasant disbursement, the milk-
weed pod of her soul puffing
apart to mingle with all the other
invisibles. For all this, she must
endure a witch’s test. Here she sits
naked and shaven from head to toe,
being poked by little men, as
they look for the Devil’s mark.
She prays when they prick
her, her body will bleed.