Witches of Childhood

Gwynne Garfinkle

The comfort of the sitcom witches with their laugh tracks, sixties dresses and twinkly music. When I have the flu, my mom wheels the TV into my bedroom so I can watch. Samantha Stephens twitches her nose, and the vacuum speeds across the floor. Endora flits in and out of her daughter’s kitchen with her glittering malice. Cousin Serena has the giggle of a capricious god.

I sit on the floor in the den, eating an orange Hostess cupcake and poring over two library books while The Dating Game plays on TV. On the cover of The Witchcraft of Salem Village, girls in pilgrim bonnets stab fingers at a woman raising her eyes skyward. If you tell the truth and say you’re innocent, you’re hanged on Gallows Hill. The girls writhe and scream and accuse. Lie and say you’re guilty, and you get to live. On the cover of the other book, Tituba of Salem Village stares into the distance, turning her back on a mob of jeering pilgrims who look tiny compared to her huge, resolute face (perspective).

Samantha makes it out of Salem unscathed, back to her sparkling suburban home (oh TVs of childhood). She always gets away with everything. Mostly I want to fly, to do the breaststroke through the air like in my dreams. To snap my fingers and make things appear and disappear. To make things waft into my waiting hand. To tell the truth. To lie.

GwynneGarfinklephotoGwynne Garfinkle lives in Los Angeles. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in such publications as Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Apex, The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Shimmer, and Goblin Fruit. She is currently working on a book of poems inspired by classic films, TV, and pop culture.