Anna Maxymiw – Maleficium

Author and poem title: Anna Maxymiw – Maleficium Poem: All women are witches, you said, your hand around my neck. I had been turned brittle, but you beat strength back into me with arcs of your belt, my body crackling with the viscous residue of your anger. I bit my wrists to bring back the ache that you carved into me; I blindfolded myself and walked my headboard, uplifted; I scrubbed myself with salt at 3 a.m., tracing the bruises that you wove only half-reverently up my legs. All women are witches, you said, your foot on my hair.  You gave me pain that curled around my ankles like a velveteen familiar, reassuringly luscious. You gave me a backbone like hawthorn by teaching me the elegance of inaction. You spat in my screaming face and I had glossolalia in the prophecy of bruise-lash and then I had foresight about how you would leave.  All women are witches, you say, when I know you’re gone without yet knowing you’re going—I’m relieved and blood-wet and broken and new, feeling a toothy thing in my guts that smiles along with centuries of women who knew how to hide fingermarks under long skirts, to turn pain into propellant. Now, I move like a bird of prey, sharp and shattered. Now, people wither from me and I laugh. Now, you whisper with me, you just have to realize it. End of poem.  Copyright © Anna Maxymiw Originally appeared in untethered Vol. 4.1 Spring 2018 Anna Maxymiw lives in Toronto. Her work has been featured in such publications as The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, and Maclean’s. She is the author of Dirty Work, a memoir about working at a fly-in fishing lodge in Northern Ontario. Twitter/Instagram: @maxymiw untethered is a biannual Toronto-based literary journal publishing poetry, prose, visual art, and work that blurs those lines, from emerging and established writers and artists. Created by three York University Creative Writing graduates in 2014, untethered has taken the Toronto literary scene by surprise, producing high-quality print journal of polished, always entertaining work. Known for their exciting and highly attended launch events, untethered is completely independent and unfunded.  Twitter/Instagram/Facebook: @untetheredmag