by

Jordan Hirsch

The silence is solid as it moves through my bones.

I’ve been tethered and leashed and dragged screaming back home

to be punished in new ways and then left alone,

all for what I may carry inside me.

 

I am told I’m a danger and must stay inside,

but it wasn’t me the night those people died.

Why does Annie roam free even after she lied

about not being able to sing? 

 

Of course I’d heard of magic, had read it in books,

knew sorcerers and old hags were nothing but crooks,

using lyrics and melodies to insert their hooks,

but I loved Annie’s songs nonetheless.

 

I’ve heard her use her voice for things other than killing.

Her songs don’t make others do things they’re not willing.

My ears heard her songs without all my blood spilling,

which was why I tried singing my own.

 

In the darkness of night, tucked in my little room,

I let my song rise, let it float, let it bloom.

No more than a whisper, as soft as a tomb,

I sang my own songs to my dolls.

 

This went on for weeks until I fell asleep,

lullaby making me doze, made my own sleep so deep,

but my voice carried on, grew to more than a peep,

till my mother shook me hard awake.

 

She made not a sound as she covered my lips,

cotton balls in her ears and a rope at her hips.

She tied me to the bed, the rope finding its grip,

crying “Witch!” with her silent, harsh eyes.

 

Twice I’ve gotten free since the night that they bound me,

but the dogs and the hunters, they always have found me,

threatening every time that the next they will drown me,

but to Annie they don’t say a thing.

 

These women and priests just don’t get it at all.

It’s not me who breaks free; my fingers aren’t that small.

Annie unties me, making all my chains fall,

but they’ve never suspected it’s her.

 

She sits there so pleasant with her winning, true smile.

There’s no gag in her mouth, choking her with some bile,

and she only sings once they’ve been gone a while,

watching me with her painted, brown eyes.

 

I don’t know when it is that she’ll next set me free,

but the killings keep happening–I swear, it’s not me!

I just know when I go that her decoy I’ll be,

so that there’s someone else to be blamed.

 

“It’s Dear Annie’s doing,” I once cried to my mother.

She was changing my gag, putting my voice to smother.

She just shook her hand, checked one wrist, then the other.

“Oh, dear Mya,” she said.  “Annie’s just a doll.”

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