Cornelia by Ahmi Thitayan


Born beyond wedlock to a maid and her kith,

Irony enlivened for the father the locksmith.

Mother, in haste, did bore none more bairn,

For Cornelia alone was far more to bear.

Hidden away behind rock walls in gloom,

Only light she received from the cracks in her room.

Solace she found among those like she,

Women and girls too learning to be.

To most they are lost, burdens, and tragic,

To them they were gods, toiling in magic.

Cornelia knew not whence she had left,

But only that amity is why she is kept.


Archaic but laden with vermilion crimped tresses,

Ive led top as Supreme of abbesses.

Raising new girls for they were her own,

She hath found a Coven to mortals unshown.

Cast to her coterie a morn after Yule,

Ive took Cornelia as one more to rule,

And after years passing of gewunelic routine,

The young girl herself arose her own means.

Ascending in strength her sisters surpassed,

Vicenarian Cornelia less to Ive last.

Mighty and invulnerable, a beast brewed in wait,

The land of her exiler shall soon have its fate.


“The Coven,” said Ive, “doth not dispatch,

An issue of wench, we’t prevail at match.”

Yet, put aside by a toss of her hand,

Cornelia left Ive in suit of remand.

“‘I broil, my Ive, men hast his sword,

Ill fated to learn the true words of his Lord.”

In garment of velvet with breastpin in-stitched,

Few beknew advent of this Witch.


Queer to Cornelia but dear as a clade,

There was the locksmith and mother, the maid.

A pie ‘top the mantel, warming to eat,

The maid kneading meal, the smith in his seat.

In gaze through the aperture, a form caught her eye,

A poor feeble bairn was resting inside.

Replaced and incensed, Cornelia drew back,

Knew nought but the rage and the goad to attack.

Her eyes shone viridescent, jealous and scorned,

She spanned out her arms to extirpate the door.

Infringing inside the begetting abode,

Absent was them, though still not alone.

The locksmith, the pie, the maid, nor the bairn,

All had been gone, but a wench in the chair.

“I wot thy intent hither,” Ive said in repose,

Rising and turning as Cornelia froze.

The bright scarlet coils draped past her shoulders,

An animate white dress to the floor that now smolders.

“I quoth thee, mine daughter.” There she began,

“How thou aforesaid to the strong sword of man.”

Ive saundered to the Witch, bliaut in tow,

She raised up her hand which emerged out a glow,

She muttered a charm, the stone walls decayed,

Her old hand touched Cornelia, bearing her face.

Collapsed to the ground was the cloak she had woven,

And Ive was the last good Witch of the Coven.