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 Toby Menzies Sacher

Toby is a 

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The Coven’s Cauldron

 

I 

I’m in a coven. Witches coming together periodically –

We meet and chat and drink tea and formalise and formulate.

And occasionally we hit on something new and we enjoy– things we make ourselves.

 

Now, the point of contention.

The central star of the conflict.

The word’s worth it. Not everyone agrees.

 

We meet widdershins, ripped jeans.

We wrap in the black of white noise.

We look bright to the others, having our tryst.

 

I’m the weakest of the group. Somewhat of a mannish one. I have friends with computers and muzak:

–The Hag, she smokes and runs rallies reproductive

–The Maiden, who wears pink unironically, fearsome and independent

–The Mother. She likes us nearly as much as we do her, we don’t complain when she goes for exams, she gets us drinks

 

II

We drink. We huddle around the table.

We draw triangles on it in pepper and beer.

Salt is disgusting, the sea only worse. We move out of the rain where the stand stands.

The vinegar’s missing.

We barrel onto some cheesy chips unadorned

Though I like to stir the fork–ladle into the brine at the bottom.

 

As a rule, we save the knucklebones for last, once we’re all blasted.

“Jump this!” “Skitter–scatter!” “Through the this’le!”

“Like it matters!”

We chatter. And there we see; the perfect thing.

It’s a wide iron pitch.

Two horizontal wooden handles, shallow, rainwater left as if it were steam runoff.

A wok, points out The Hag, fancy a cookout?

If we wash it first, The Mother. I’ve a better solution, pipes the Maiden.

 

If we find a lid for it then we can set up us a stash.

Of what?

Good question, and I find myself listing under the possibilities.

Fetishes, a hunk of comforting flesh, remnants of a loved one’s– lockets, lockup letters, even a red correcting pen.

Pretty much perfect, says The Maiden. Genius she is, but original about her sayings she ain’t.

 

III

The decision making process followed the usual form

I took the fall of toting it back

While the others had their pipes.

“Time for dinner” my dad called, “Chinese?”

Unsurprising; we had Chinese whenever he came home tired.
“We could’ve cooked that here, look.”

He lumped up like a boil. One big shrug.

 

IV

 Sat in bed, rereading my dogeared Aromatherapists Guide,

One of the best chapters, on metals,

I get a call, on my cellphone,

Answering despite preferring home phones for their shifting the bill;

“Greetings?” – Carol, I hear her wheeze

“I think I should say sorry,

So sorry to call you.”

We spend 2 hours.

 

I staccato downstairs to the shed,

My slept dad on the sofa roils.

I take pink salt and cilantro and once in the shed I tong some Esfand

And I have the wok

And a knife.

 

V

 I’m in a coven. Witches coming together periodically.

We meet again the next morning and I bring cheap lemonade for drinks.

The Hag, The Maiden, The Mother

At the bottom of my shopping, there's a freezer bag.

While the others measure out, I take Caroline aside.

I give her the bag, tell her it's crushed nazar

And she takes the water I offer her from my bandaged hand 

 

I am the coven’s cauldron

And I hold us all in stew.