FIRE WITCHES

The ancient skulls of witches burned in the Inquisition call to me. I see myself reflected on the smooth weathered scapulas and thigh-bones and fire-blackened eye sockets. In the black rutilated quartz hair strands left behind in their ancient bone brushes I see the opportunity to hex my ancestresses.
Their bodies, destroyed by fire in sixteenth-century Britanny, round out the hills of Point Reyes Station perched precariously on the San Andreas fault-line. Their fire roars hungrily over the offending hills of nearby Inverness, crossing the ridge to Limantour beach where the body of the Pacific sparkles in slate patterns, written on by distant steamers and ocean liners. The impermanence of these boat-scribblings remind me of the unnamed women, evidence of their lives caught in fleeting smoke. The furnace of my Kikkoman-splattered KitchenAid oven breathes hot fear onto my skin as I read the articles accounting the Inverness burn. Bonnie Burroughs lost her house. There is a picture of her taking a picture of her ruined oven.
My greatest fear has always been of fire. My house burning down. All my carefully collected personal space in flames. In my dreams I wake screaming again and again from new worlds of fire, trying to rescue my cat Princess Ozma and a few of my disks, my magic amethyst egg, and feeling the hot disintegration approaching without mercy.
I think of countless kitchen-witches guilty of smiling at inopportune moments, laughing during the solemn garble of Latin, and wearing bright modern slickers, studying medicine at Harvard Grad, and most of all guilty of living on. The charred red hair of my collective ancestress waves in the dry tinder-quick grass rolling on Elephant Mountain. The grass, burnt dry in the summer, wheat-bright and gold, makes waves. I have hexed them back. They are here now, in Point Reyes, responding at last to the call of their living remains.