Ava Serra

The Last Act of the American Witch Court

three days after Her mortal death,
the justices of the witch council
fly to arlington national cemetery;

they exhume Her, gentle as a doctor
who lifts an infant through a caesarean gulch
from a tangle of intestines into scream-thinned air.

the witches fuel their ritual with opera tongues,
ripped strips of black shroud. each gives
a year or ten for immortality’s sake.

they—the often-buried, the often-burned—conduct
a ceremony a country witnesses only once in its term;
they resurrect Her to the lament:

we’re sorry, so sorry to disturb
the one respite you’ll ever get—but the orange imposter
just called to court 120 years of regression embodied

in human flesh, a blasphemous idol jammed into the altar of you and—
She rises before last rites for the rerising,
reanimated in the ebony and alabaster beads of her dissent jabot;

She is on Her way to the white-hot house of this country’s fresh hell;
She careens toward D.C. with a torch soaked in sulfur and lime;
Her fellow witches fly in tow,

ready with pestle indictment and balsam kindling
to feed the great country-
consuming burn.

Emerging from Metro Detroit, Ava Serra (they/she) is a writer, publishing professional, and former wildlife specialist. Their current poetry projects engage with disordered menstruation and gender identity, displaced Boricua culture, survival confessionalism, and domestic sapphic joy. In addition to an award from the Academy of American Poets and a 2023 Pushcart Prize nomination, their works have been published or are forthcoming in Salt Hill Journal, Lavender Review, Jelly Bucket, Black Spot Books, LandLocked, Open Minds Quarterly, among others. They are a poetry student in the University of Maryland’s MFA program.