Each year they parade her about:
The traditional Halloween witch.

Misshapen green face,
stringy scraps of hair,
and a toothless mouth
beneath her disfigured nose.

Gnarled, knobby fingers
twisted into a claw,
protracting from a bent
and twisted torso
that lurches about on wobbly legs.

Most think this abject image
to be the creation of
a prejudiced mind,
or merely a Halloween caricature.

I disagree.
I believe this to be
how witches were really seen.

Consider that most witches:
were women,
were abducted in the night,
and smuggled into dungeons or prisons
under the secrecy of darkness
be presented by the light of day
as a confessed witch.

Few, if any,
saw a frightened,
normal looking woman
being dragged into a secret room
filled with instruments of torture.
To be questioned
until she confessed
to anything that was suggested to her,
and to give names
or say whatever would stop the questions.

Crowds saw the aberration
denounced to the world
as a self-proclaimed witch.

As the witch was paraded
through the town,
en route to be burned,
hanged, drowned, stoned,
or disposed of
in various, horrible ways,
all created to free
and save her soul
from her depraved body.

The jeering crowds
viewed the results
of hours of torture

The face, bruised
and broken by countless blows,
bore a hue of sickly green.

The once warm and loving smile
Replaced by a grimace
of broken teeth ,
and torn gums
that leer beneath a battered,
disfigured nose.

The disheveled hair
conceals bleeding gaps
of torn scalp
from whence cruel hands
had torn away the lovely tresses.

Broken, twisted hands
clutched the wagon for support.
Fractured fingers locked like groping claws
to steady her broken body.

All semblance of humanity gone.
This was truly a demon,
a bride of Satan, a witch.

I revere this Halloween Witch
and hold her sacred.
I honor her courage
and listen to her warnings
of the dark side of humanity.

Each year I shed tears of respect.