Anny Miner’s “Wicked Women”
Chapter 4 - Isabelle She was daughter to the moon, born with stars as freckles and found dancing with the trees. When a man tried to comb the wild out of her hair and wash the bark of her skin she called the wolves, she sent the vultures, she watched as he was consumed alive organ by organ, asked him, “How dare you try and chop my Amazon into fire wood for your own warmth?”
My mother is full of these fairy tales. She read them to me each night hoping I would grow up believing in the power of my own magic, that I was born as bonfire chasing circles during the witching hour. I come from a long line of wicked women. But they do not need voodoo dolls or magic spells; instead go straight for the throat.
Isabelle was my great grandmother who fed her husband ground glass instead of sugar and watched him die because she was sick of how bourbon made him mistake her for prey.
My grandmother Marie went through her husband’s savings and bought herself a diamond ring when he spent Christmas inside another woman.
And my mother’s story is still a family secret. I will not tell you in case my father is ever listening.
I am the next chapter. Yet I still accepted the boy’s fists as if each were a rose and I was a garden in need of some color. When he left finger prints on my skin like thin ice over dark pools I pull my long sleeve shirts out of winter storage and clung to his next morning apologies as if they could calm the swelling.
When he told me all the places he could hide my body, I drew my diary into a treasure map awaiting an X and a dotted red line.
When he broke into my house I spoke quietly as to not trespass on his temper afraid that one more rose would tip the bouquet and spill them all across my face. Afraid that no one would find my bones until the snow melted in Spring.
When I look at my hands I wonder how I did not inherit their brass knuckles. I pray these fists were something they had to grow into also.
I still believe in magic. I’ve heard a whisper to summon the southern winds. The wicked women are telling me that hurricanes are named after humans for a reason. I am not making pacts with the devil. I am telling him you are not welcome here anymore.
Last night I put on my grandmother’s Christmas ring, studied the design it would leave if it ever collided with skin, and noticed how it fit my finger perfectly.
The metal began to sweat, as if a storm was coming.