Bayou Witch

Bayou Witch

Every bayou needs a witch

to clear out the riff raff and dodgy sorts

who would think to disturb the gators

or take a meal from the mouth of a muskrat

She needn’t be very large,

just big enough

to swallow the moon

when it shines too bright

and brings to light

things the Bayou would rather be kept

secret, sacred

She would wear the face of an old lover

or perhaps a catfish

keep a bit of cypress and toad

in her skirt

for luck

She would string up red fire ants

like pearls

wear them on skin

that ripples like death

Because she will need know death

like the back of her hand

must have teeth sharper than any man

if she is going to survive

The Bayou only takes what it needs

but it needs quite a lot

especially from its witch

She will lose herself every night

in the moss and mud

dancing in brackish waters

giving birth to fish and fowl

nursing the bayou

to life

and delivering death

when the Bayou demands

Yes, every Bayou needs a witch

like me.

Raven J. Cole

Raven J. Cole is a teacher, writer, and book nerd from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently teaches writing at University View Academy. Her poetry can be found in OtherVisions Zine, Oyster River Pages, Dig Magazine, and at the bottom of most pots of gumbo. Updates are available at  

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