Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 18

18 | Psychopomp Magazine

Kelly Kiehl

Left, Leaving

& that summer our brothers left for Vietnam, we began to practice witchcraft. In the company of days that stretched longer and thinner, magic possessed us. In our treehouse, we smoked cigarettes like they could save us and tried to light them with only our minds. We read Witchcraft for Beginners; chanted spells together to make our hair silky smooth and bring our brothers home. We chanted until the sun fell down and we ran home to eat dinner around silent dinner tables. During those endless days, we'd visit the library together and read the stories of women who'd earned the title of Witch, and we were haunted by these women, women who had done something more than stay put, women so threatening people thought they couldn't possibly be human. Our magic transformed us and transformed our treehouse: across its wooden walls, we pasted pictures of Veronica Franco and Sarah Good and Samantha from Bewitched. Anger and magic collected in the corners of our treehouse and beneath our fingernails, and beneath our shoulder blades, something began to itch

& something is different now, something has changed

& September and November pass and our magic only grows. The temperature reaches record lows, and then Christmas passes too, with such a heavy blanket of snow and silence that I wonder whether or not my mother still has a voice. On a snowy dusk at the end of January, we meet, as we have so many nights before, in the treehouse our fathers built in the woods of our back yards. Tonight, we will plan our escape because we cannot stay put any longer