The Witch Hethavich (1878)


For the want of a dream, old west sorcery in streams, an old bard’s tale found by the Laramie river. It floated so far till it reached a scar. There, look there, in a volcanic cave near some timbers. She’s known by some names but for this tale she’ll remain the Hethavich, may she spell long forever.

The wagon breaks down near Laramie town, the elements not pure enough in the river. For someone unclean, perhaps the priest upstream, has plucked and bled his chickens and spoiled the water. The journeys been long, two days from her home, near the Michigan Ditch sky where she holds her quarter. She’s traveled this way, her hair filled with braids, to Wyoming to help by being a giver.

Of potions she holds, that cure the common cold, and sometimes in magic she delivers. Of headaches and pain, crossed baby’s ingrained, with the flash of her eye’s, most illness leaves with a shiver. A territory she’s told, not yet a state to the fold, but oh the cold it lights her, now in the winter.

So global a matrix that spins in her mind, no one would guess she’s a witch from old rhymes. Her book of secrets is made from the skin of the thighs, of Ivan Vasilyevich’s hide, she his mistress when he died. Playing chess on the last, of the March of ides. But before you grow tiresome, for we all want thrills, on to the present, on to the till.

Near Laramie toward the north side of town is a lady, a lady of the night. She’s whored a certain many, spread her legs for dimes, but now here in the present there’s a man coming from Californy that by his letter would make her his wife. All he asks by seeing her picture, all he wants of a bride, will you be a virgin, for I have been pure my entire life.

And so the need comes in winter, the whore writes to the witch above tree line, the specter that can deliver. And crows they come, so many they come, flying low beneath the cold sun, and the wagon waits still broken by the Laramie river.

Throughout the night the snow does fall, the village gathers to bring its gold, and have a witch heal itch and cold, lice and broken love, those poisons of life so old. So they laugh and watch the whore approach and as the sun comes glowing, near the broken wagon by the river. And as the dawn grows red, the priest still in his bed, upriver, maybe now dead, yes maybe now dead. They stand amazed as from leather and magic, from crows crying and flying, as the whore’s hymen becomes whole, like an angel that’s been pure forever.

For the want of a dream, old west sorcery in streams, an old bard’s tale found by the Laramie river. It floated so far till it reached a scar. There, look there, in a volcanic cave near some timbers. She’s known by some names but for this tale she’ll remain the Hethavich, may she spell long forever. – 04.09.2016 – דָּנִיֵּאל

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