Witch's Broom

by Robert Borski

Only the best straw will suffice.

This is why she makes sure
to fertilize the field properly,
burying alive a dozen little boys
in the thick ground, just before
the advent of spring rains.

The handle -- which must accommodate
her legs in several different fashions --
she forges from wormwood and polishes
with bat grease, while no less special
is the cord that binds everything:
it is integument, like cat-gut, but to hold
the enchantment must come from a woman
who has never known the arms,
root or lovesong of a man.

Thus, put together at moontide,
the witch's broom is an amazing tool,
able to fly, respond to her voice,
fight off lecherous warlocks, and
satisfy her own burning itches.
But the most wondrous thing of all?
It can roust the dirt from
every crook and cranny of her hut
and just for the feel of a clean
floor beneath her crippled feet
at night's end is worth every spell
in her repertoire.

Robert Borski is the author of two books about Gene Wolfe, Solar Labyrinth and The Long and the Short of It. In his passage through life he reckons himself to be somewhere between late-blooming child prodigy and premature senescence. He tends to write his poetry while looking out over the Wisconsin River, which flows past his bedroom window.

When asked to name his favourite fruit, he replied, "My favorite fruit, despite an act of Congress declaring them to be a vegetable, is the tomato, and I am addicted to the Black Krim and Cherokee Purple varieties. Given the phenomenon known as 'cat-scratching,' some of these can look downright spooky, as if Dr. Frankenstein had practiced his surgical skills on tomatoes."

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