The Woman with Warts on Her Elbows

By Mary Christine Delea

Photo by Anna-Louise from Pexels

does not want attention when she goes into town to shop. She’s had
enough of people’s taunts, their opinions of her looks, her clothes,
her lifestyle. Her wild hair and scarred skin. She knows they avoid

eye contact with her, but will sneak close to her tiny house on
the dead end street taking pictures on their phones of the squirrel
and rat corpses she hangs from short trees in her yard. Thin rope

connecting rotting leg to branch until one or the other disintegrates.
The weeping willow where she has tied velvet ribbons and wind chimes—
she thinks when air moves it should create visible waves of beauty

and noise that sounds like a church that doesn’t yet exist. The rest
of her yard looks like overgrown field, but it holds magic, the plants
of her craft. Kava kava, lily of the valley, spotted cowbane, English yew,

turmeric, parsley. Newly woven fabrics cover the wood piles, waiting
for rain to repel. When it arrives, the spiders are already inside,
cozy by the fire, where a vessel hangs like a dead rodent, its contents

boiling with enthusiasm, ready to be sold to those who whisper
curses in her direction, who don’t trust her to not kill their babies,
but will pay for her wart-infused potions to cure their ills.

 

 


Mary Christine Delea, is the author of 3 chapbooks and 1 full-length collection. Recent publications include Jenny and Nightingale & Sparrow. Delea is a former college professor who is originally from Long Island, NY. She now lives in Oregon City, Oregon.

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