Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Witness
Sarah Ann Winn

We called it the witch’s nose,
the outcrop of rocks
where an old woman seemed
to peer out from the hill.

Every year the tree line would change
the shape of her babushka
and we’d guess she was having a bad
hair day which went on and on.

Then the machines came
and the lights and someone
cut a road through woods
we swore were haunted

if you would just stand and listen.
They buried the ghost in tree debris,
and made wide road for trucks
to haul load after load

of history away.
Who knows what happened to the cabin
back in the woods
that probably bank robbers used once,

which we’d planned to fix
up and live in once grown.
Where would my garden go now,
where nothing good, nothing wild grows?

Isn’t it enough that you can hear the digging
down the valley, over the sound of the falls?
The land reappears, a prisoner of war, head
shaven, suddenly gaunt. Unrecognizable in profile.


Sarah Ann Winn’s poems, flash fiction and hybrid works have appeared or will appear soon in Calyx, Five Points, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Massachusetts Review, and Passages North, among others. Her chapbooks include Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive (Essay Press, 2016), Haunting the Last House on Holland Island (Porkbelly Press, 2016), and Portage (Sundress Publications, 2015). Visit her at bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling.