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Drawing on contemporaneous documents and her own personal geography and history, Cindy Veach explores the tragedy and horror of the Salem Witch Trials. Each poem represents each murdered victim until one comes away with a secret biography, “a doily of flesh,” as relevant now as it was in 17th Century New England.

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It is written that her touch alone
recovered the afflicted out of their fits.

And there was that black hog,
or some Evill thing not a Reall hog,

that chased home old man Westgate,
open-mouthed, as if it – would have

devoured me att thatt Instant. He said,
he had determined in his mind,

it was Mary Parker.
Also, William Barker Jr. confessed

she went w’th him to Afflict Martha Sprauge
and that she rod Upon a pole

and was baptized at 5 Mile pond
But to this day there’s speculation

that the teenage girls who accused her
meant another Mary Parker –

distemper of the mind Mary Stevens Parker
or sister-in-law Mary Markstone Parker

or possibly niece Mary Parker
but, most likely, the scandalous,

twice-convicted of fornication
and mother of an illegitimate child

Mary Parker of Salem Town
instead of the hanged Mary Ayer Parker.

Still, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary or Mary –


Because you asked them to stay mum
none of your five children
came to your defense

even though they knew
you didn’t visit the sick
pretending kindnes

and kill. What nurse can make
every patient well? They knew the poppets
stuck with thorns were placed

on purpose and all the ointments –
you put them in so many things
were for concocting twenty kinds

of soap. They would have said
you weren’t the caus of Jon Turners falling
off the cherry tree. You had nothing

to do with the pinching & Bruseing of John Best’s wife
Till her Earms & other parts of her Body Looked Black
and that you would never have forced Sarah

to sett her hand to the book. Samuel Pikworth swore
you passed him as swifte as if a burd flue by
but if you could have bewitched yourself into a bird

you would have. Instead, you stood and stated
what your children knew – the Evidence against you
was altogether false & untrue.

About the Author

Cindy Veach is the author of Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), selected as a ‘Must Read’ book by The Massachusetts Center for the Book and named a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day Series, AGNI, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review, Diode and elsewhere. Cindy received the Phillip Booth Poetry Prize and the Samuel Allen Washington Poetry Prize. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.

Cindy Veach

Copyright © 2020 Cindy Veach

Cover design by d’Entremont

ISBN 978-1-949279-25-2

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

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