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The Witch (to Descartes): Cogito, Ergo Sum by Jessica Khailo


It’s different when a witch is dreaming.

So, I’m careful to think of the future

in what-ifs and vascular networks.

Transient, diverging paths in unspun wool.

No strings for old masters. No laces untied.

All exit ramps, clean rest stop bathrooms.


I pack kneepads, find places to bury

my denatured proteins, these necrotic cells.

I restore the old shrines on the road for new Marys

(O Clement! O Loving!) to feed my past lives to.

I will count every coin in this fountain,

fill every pocket for the vending machines.


Who will sing with me: the jay or the cardinal?

A gnat and a hair in my morning cup answers,

“Whichever you choose, tell the bees and your mother,

and let the deer know to stay clear of the road.”

This omen won’t say what it’s like to be born,

but they hope that I’ll ask them to anyway.


The crows know when to move for a silver Mercedes

and light up pine branches they’ve struck on the sun.

We have an agreement: three coins for safe passage

and I’ll leave my beginnings unended

for the tender alchemy of songbirds.

When a witch does the dreaming, it’s real.


 

Jessica Khailo (she/her) lives in the state of Washington with her husband, two children, and one very good dog. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys complaining on walks through the woods, knitting, creating dodgy artwork, and singing her heart out like no one is listening. Her work has appeared in The Citron Review.

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