Kitchen Coven by Avra Elliott

My mother-in-law told me to put an egg in a sick grandchild’s crib:
If it is boiled in the morning, the fever will be gone

but she tried to re-ingest the words, faith betrayed by her own advice,
binding curandera remedies with a rosary.

Garlic cloves and communion wafers don’t marry well
yet under San Pasqual’s eyes a coven of mothers gathered in the kitchen,

singing a harmonized doxology song
while daughters secretly cast spells left buried in iris petals,

recipes on parchment calling for swaddled baby bird.

I felt bravest when defying the hell I believed in.
I didn’t swallow the body of Christ

but one I loved, when asked if he really believed, told me a priest left
part of a wafer between the leaves of a bible, and when he returned

it was flesh. I thought no less of this lover who looked logic in the face

and told it to flee, the way a mother,
desperate to break a fever, bet it all on an egg.
Avra Elliott is a writer and toymaker from New Mexico. Her work has appeared in Tinderbox, Ilanot Review, and Shadowgraph, and her poetry and prose are forthcoming from Noctua Review, Jam Tarts, and Barrow Street. Elliott received her MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College.