My mother despised the wicker witches on the neighbor’s farm. She made the sign of the cross when we scurried by on the straight and narrow path to church. Evil things. Satan’s work.
She wrenched me by my wrist, muttering prayers, refusing to raise her gaze from the dirt, grip so tight she left fingered bruises. Crushed violets on my skin. She heard the Devil in the wind on holy days.
I bent beneath God’s almighty eyes. He spied from my closet, prowled under my bed. Tallied transgressions like a spider weaving a child-size web. A tattletale, he caressed the pale shell of my mother’s ear, whispered lists of my depravities, filthy dreams. Collected my impious cravings like bright pennies from a well.
His flaming brand, his righteous redeemer, she blamed the stick witches, wielded the switch, and lay bloody creases of repentance across my spine. Grace…
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