Peine Forte et Dure (For the Women Who Love Giles Corey)

by Caitlyn Gilvary Davidheiser

Sometimes / I dream that I killed / your second husband. / There is blood everywhere / in the dream / in the bed / I wake bleeding between legs // I am still / your little girl.

At ten, I was so in love / with Giles Corey when / I read that he told those sonsofbitches where to shove it / when he wouldn’t let them have him / when he kept shouting, “more weight” / I could do that too / I knew / I would have told / your husband to keepswinging.

But then / I read Giles / killed his wife with witch trials, he killed / the farmhand too / & I realized / I will never be / the violent man to take a stand / I will never have / my violence / erased as long as / there are people like you / to redeem people like him / I might as well be thewitchstupidbitch / your husband named me.

Could you ever / really / forget / that we jumped state lines to hide / on those days he hailed too many/ fists through drywall, screaming our names, digging for a world where / he hadn’t married a woman with / two daughters made / from the parts of other men / a world where he hadn’t married / a woman / at all.

Giles Corey / was crushed to death / for his willfulness / well / me too / ‘more weight, mother fucker, more weight.’ / How can you unlove / a violent man/ ? / Or, how / can you tell me that he wasn’t?

In those dreams / I tear fingers / from knuckles, pop / eyes, cut knees / I make him // small/ almost small enough / to fit / in your mouth, / small enough for / you to swallow / for you to choke. / It happens so fast / that / I can’t even hear you for- /giving him.

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