Witch's Brew By FrankABlissett As a child we called her "witch", Whispering the word while hidden behind mountains of hay. Jenny said the Witch could cast spells and had a real cauldron. I told of grandfather's brother, Who did bad things I wasn't aloud to hear about. She had charmed him. Mabel had seen her up close once - Witch's warts and all. Not long after, mother and I called on her for a visit, And there in her yard for all to see Was a giant pot. It was warm too - Not "Hell Hot", as pappy would say, But I could imagine Hell all the same. As mother walked back to the wagon, Two strong, gnarled hands lifted me. The cauldron was half filled with blood red, Thick and slick on top. "It's good today," the witch croaked. I was too frightened to struggle. "You can see it crawl the sides - Haven't seen anything that perfect in years." I closed my eyes and prayed, Then felt my body being lowered. I expected the hot sting of witch's brew, But kept sliding till curled toes touched ground. There stood mother. In her arms a new bolt of muslin, That she slid into the cauldron. She and the Witch talked a spell, While the pot was stirred. After a half hour or so I saw my first magic ever. With a groan, mother and the Witch reached big sticks into the pot, And the muslin was now deep, deep wine red. The cauldron's contents, I was shown, had expired to clear water. The bolt was washed in a trough, Laid out to dry, And after a few days returned to us. A dyer's work, it goes without saying, Is ever and anon fading, And replaced with newly dyed bolts and skeins and bags of wool. It is a living work, Forever changing till the dyer herself has expired. While I am not a dyer, There is one thing I can give to you granddaughter, And your newborn child. This quilt will not last forever, But will outlive me. I trust its memories will last still longer, And for many years your family will find comfort Under a checkerboard of baby blue linen And faded pink cotton.