Salem (revised)

My ancestor
Sarah Cloyce
crouched in her jail cell
remembering her sisters.
Rebecca. Hung.
Mary. Drowned.
She herself faced drowning
and wondered how it was when
Mary’s lungs filled with water
the air squeezed out
bubbles rising to the surface.

She did not care for herself
but for their children
and grandchildren
this gaggle of courses
descended from
three infamous witches–
How would they fare?
Would her nieces
her daughters
be picked off one
by one
as she, Rebecca, Mary had been?

She did not expect the jailer’s approach
in the middle of the night.
She did not understand
her release into her husband’s arms
and onto the floor of a wagon
under coats
and bales of hay
an overnight trip to Framingham.

They lived in two caves
one for sleeping, hidden
and one for keeping watch.
Her grown son brought
messages for weeks
of no change
until suddenly it was over.

They built a house in Framingham
that still stands today
wings and additions lopped on
over three centuries.
The core of the house
holds the wide mouth
of an enormous cookstove built
for heat and cooking
food
not women
no witches.

There is a plaque on the wall
telling Sarah’s story
And Rebecca’s and Mary’s.
I am descended from the one
who survived.
It is tempting
to be proud
of her, of that.
But it was just
a bribable jailer
a crafty husband
hard lessons from Rebecca and Mary
and luck.

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About aliceinbloggingland

I am starting a blog in order to establish a regular writing habit, with readers. Enjoy!
This entry was posted in poetry, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Salem (revised)

  1. What a remarkable ancestor. I’m fascinated by my family history but don’t think I have anything remotely as unique as this.

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