“Salem’s Sid and Nancy,” by Nancy Byrne Iannucci

Apr 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Poetry

-For Giles and Martha Corey, Salem 1692

Tis smotherin’ under these stones
but me conscience suffocates me worse.

Travelin’ nights with the weight still on me chest.
I should have kept me mouth shut, Martha,

callin’ thee a witch, me own wife.
what’s worse, I signed thee off to the gallows

led by those damned Girls,
especially that Ann Putnam.

Oh, how they howled like banshees when
the court stripped thee down to thy shift,

sifting for the mark, the Devil’s mark.
Hathorne heeded their cries like the Lord’s counsel.

I’m a damned fool! No one is innocent!
The slanderers, the lot of us, like that Mercy Lewis.

she said I was “a dreadful wizard.”
for that I stood before the court, mute.

Many think me now a brave man
for I’d rather be put to the peine forte et dure

than confess to their lyin’ talk of witchcraft.
Brave! Brave, me arse!

Me tongue still hangs out me mouth
from the weight of these stones.

Can thee forgive me, Martha?
Can thee help me breathe again?

Aye? Speak up, Martha.
I can hardly hear thee.

Fuck thee, Giles Corey!


Nancy Byrne Iannucci is the author of Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review 2018). Her poems have appeared in several publications, some include Allegro Poetry Magazine, Eunoia Review, The Mantle, Gargoyle, Clementine Unbound, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, 8 Poems, Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist), Red Eft Review and Typehouse Literary Magazine. Nancy is a Long Island, New York, native who now resides in Troy, New York, where she teaches history at the Emma Willard School. (https://www.instagram.com/nancybyrneiannucci/)

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