Post Road Magazine #12

July 19, 1692: Susanna Martin

Jill McDonough

Salem, Massachusetts

She hurt Elizabeth Browne with nayls & pinns,
as birds peking her legs or priking her
with the mosion of thayr wings,
choking her then
with a bunch lik a pulletts egg. She made a sure
man lose his way, be wildered, striking at lights
with sticks. She kept John Pressy’s cowherd small,
and came in Bernard Peache’s window at night
to Lay upon him an hour or 2 in all
‘til he felt loosined or lightened. Jarvis Ring
she afflicted by Lying upon him in bed,
or turning into a hog. She sent a thing
like apupy to haunt John Kimball, witnesses said.
They condemned her, for these just and sufficient proofs,
to the cart, and Gallows Hill, and a hempen noose.

September 18, 1755: Mark and Phillis

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Was he your master? Yes he was. How did
he die? I suppose he was poisoned. Do you know
he was poisoned? I do know he was poisoned. She'd
been his for thirty years, then finally stowed
White Powder behind a black Jug, doctored the water.
And had your master any? Yes he had.
In barly Drink, and Watergruel.
His daughters,
Miss Betsy and Miss Molly, served their dad.

It was Mark who first contrived it, he had read
the Bible through. Laying Violent Hands
by sticking or stabbing or cutting his throat to shed
his blood's a sin.
Phillis blamed Mark on the stand
and was burned alive at the stake, while he was hanged,
his body up for years, displayed in chains.

Jill McDonough’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Threepenny Review, and Slate. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, the NEA, and The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

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