throwing things into fires

on any given night
whether the moon be bright and fat
or a shadow of herself,
you may hear of
women
throwing things into fires.

rough-torn bits of paper
scrawled with the pith of well-worn habits
ready for the shredder,
wine-stained envelopes, birch bark, clippings,
herbs and curses.

it’s not that they
(by which i mean we)
think this single, symbolic act
will be itself the change, as if
oh! one is magically born anew
as the cleansing flames devour our old ways,
done, ah yes, goodbye!

…no, that is not how a spell works.

a spell is a practice,
a calling in
that must be
made over
and over.

a spell is a weaving into time, a waxing
and waning, a forgetting,
a re-membering, transformed
with every cycle,
every cycle
a transformation,
a new spelling of her name.

so we gather, spelling and shedding,
burning and beholding,
what is easy to name, like a weed
you’ve come to know well
deadnettle, bindweed, speedwell, spurge
yet so hard to uproot

so, here’s one for tonight becoming
ash as we exhale
thank you for your witness.
and sure enough, when the moon has turned,
sister, i will see you here again.