Is She a Witch? Yes or No?

  1. Does she live alone, across the hallway from you, and does your daughter call her a witch? While giggling, and after you scold her, in whispers, to her friends? Does your daughter say any of the following?
    1. I hope we see the witch today.
    2. I dare you to knock on her door.
    3. Do you think she would teach us magic?
  2. Is her hair carelessly styled, is she well past middle age, and has she neither disguised these facts nor disappeared from sight?
    1. Nor disappeared from the courtyard occupied by women in lipstick, gathering to chat in the mornings? 
    2. Does she duck past you sometimes, as though she were hiding something?
    3. Do you think she might occasionally like to disappear?
  3. Can the tinkling of a piano sometimes be heard from her apartment late at night? And if so, which of these might you identify?
    1. Beethoven?
    2. Handel?
    3. A haunting melody of unknown origin?
    4. Does the music occasionally leave you melancholy?
  4. Has a certain gentleman been seen to visit her apartment, with white hair and a low voice, who may be supposed to be a warlock? 
    1. Does he occasionally bring flowers? 
    2. Did you notice an unidentifiable herb mixed into the bouquet? 
  5. Do entire days, even weeks, pass, and you see little of her, and yet the light inside the apartment flicks on and off? Could it be—
    1. She is on a retreat for witches?
    2. She is using a dark and light spell?
    3. She possesses the power of invisibility? 
  6. Does she ever give you a curious smile when you pass in the hallway? And aren’t you, as well, a woman living without another adult at home? 
    1. Are you sometimes lonely?
    2. Or, is it possible that feeling is an internalized norm, suggesting there is one way only to live a life? 
    3. As a woman? 
    4. At your age? 
    5. Meaning, with a spouse? 
    6. And presenting as a certain person in public?
    7. Who never makes others uncomfortable?
    8. And if you don’t present in that way, you are aware, aren’t you, that certain accusations may be made?
  7. Have you ever felt fatigued when passing by her closed door? Such as that might take place if someone were placing a hex on you?
    1. Or, are you exhausted sometimes from the burdens of parenting? 
    2. Are you familiar with paradoxes? 
    3. Such as the possibility that solitude can be difficult, even as you draw toward it?
  8. Is it possible that any of the neighborhood women envy her?
    1. What about the one whose husband mentioned casually he doesn’t like his wife on social media?
    2. What about the woman who joked that she’s waiting for retirement, when her family needs her less, to take up a hobby?
  9. Do you too, on occasion, wish to leave your hair unattended? 
    1. And go without makeup?
    2. Ducking past the women in the courtyard?
    3. Quickly, as though you were hiding something?
    4. Is it possible that hallway smile was one of recognition?  
  10. Does she recognize something in you?
    1. Your ability to do things alone?
    2. Such as
    3. Raising children?
    4. And bending the world a little, to your will?
    5. A proclivity to magic?
  11. Does your power frighten you?
    1. Or, do you find it alluring?
    2. Is it difficult sometimes, because of the ways in which you were socialized, to admit this?
  12. Can the odor of a warm broth sometimes be detected, wafting from your apartment into hers?
    1. Did you imagine, when you were a girl, with two parents and a large family, that you might take such pleasure, once the children were asleep, of cooking for no one in particular? 
    2. Do you ever tire of the gaze of others? 
    3. If you could pass an entire day, and know that no one would see you, how would you spend it? 
    4. Would you step outside as you are, without any fuss or expectations, carelessly, let the wind tousle your messy hair, and the sun shine upon your bare face?
    5. You might have to be a witch first, of course. But imagine if you could live as though you were invisible. Imagine if you possessed this power already.
    6. Can you remember for how long you’ve wanted to learn piano?
    7. And dabble with powerful spells?
    8. And teach magic to little girls?