The trees are cracks in the blue sky
as the sun descends—baleful eye
that sets alight its dusky wake
as a witch fettered to a stake.
Smoking moon low above the trees,
orange glow, cold air, and no breeze.
She walks—slow-tread—from house to house,
her footfall quiet as a mouse,
her black hair spilling to her hips,
nude but for the ash on her lips,
as she threads the street and lampposts
all aglow like luminous ghosts.
The cars are still, the windows dark,
houses dead, the dogs do not bark,
and owls watch her, their heads askew,
eyes aflame with the twilight view
as the moon becomes orange flame,
embers flaring, woman the same,
but she walks on, pale flesh like wax
melting off her bones, wet and lax,
dripping along Salem sidewalks
like bright-burning candle stalks—
on she walks, slow, and the moon glows
with the fire the other one knows
as they both burn clean to white bone,
meeting down the street, leaf-strewn
with the sloughing leper’s season
of Autumn’s withering treason.
Bone to bone beneath umbrous hoods,
woman and moon meet in the woods,
bearing each a paternal gaze
to its end, its requiem phase,
dead themselves, and so free at last
from will o’ the wisps of the past.
They kiss the other a good night,
snuffing, at last, that baleful light.