Bridget Bishop

by Dean Graham

Editor's note: 'Bridget Bishop' was the third piece published in our DREAD series in Fall 2017. The series also includes 'morgue poetry' by Claire Bernardo, 'Consent' by Morgan Chittum, and 'Only Darkness' by Micah Long.

 

Bridget Bishop was the first person hanged in the Salem Witch Trials. Legend often portrays her as a tavern-keeper who was scorned for standing out from the rest of her Puritan community.
 

1.

October is 80 degrees this year

I’m drunk

& you’re naked

& the sun goes down early

but it’s hard to tell

when the curtains are closed

 

do you remember Salem

1689

it hadn’t started yet

the clasp is stuck

on your blood-red bralette

Bridget Bishop just wanted to have fun

 

 

2.

Dare you ask how it felt

how she hated those kids

leering faces that grinned

through the vomit

 

I know you hate them too

when you come home late nights

chewed up food on your shirt

& ears ringing

 

 

3.

Trick or treat

you’re a witch

& off to the gallows you go

 

 

4.

Do you remember

how it looked that night

 

big oak tree &

dull orange sky

 

her still body rocked

in the faltering breeze

 

it was summertime then

& down at the tavern

 

men laughed and told stories

& no one paid heed

 

to the still, empty bar-

they just helped themselves

 

 

5.

October is 80 degrees this year

the window is open

the lights all turned off

how did you come to

that pub where we met

why did you stare

at the bar

why do your eyes fill with mist

at the sight of

the dull orange sky

you cover your ears

‘gainst the faltering breeze

you cover your eyes

from the sun

why are you quiet

when I whisper your name

Bridget Bishop just wanted

to have fun


Thumbnail image by Sabrina Sanchez.