Suburban Witchery | Anna Szilagyi

At girlhood sleepovers,
we’d play games.
Not like makeovers,
or truth or dare.
We’d recite the story–

I don’t know where
we first heard it,
someone’s older sister
or cousin or friend
from another school
had the legend passed
down to them.

One of us would lie
on her stomach,
and from above,
another girl would
tell the story.

That wolves or rabid
dogs were chasing you
through dark woods.
You were stumbling
over branches and roots
trying to get away.
You ran as fast as you could,
but the wolves caught up.

She would say this
in whispers, both because
the parents were asleep
by now and because it
was scarier that way.

And we’d lift up the
other girl’s pajama shirt,
the one lying down,
eyes closed, dreaming
of running through woods,
and she’d have red scratches
on her back. Pink lines
from where the dogs’ claws
scratched her. We didn’t know
how or why this happened,
only that it worked.
This magic, our witchery
under the suburban night,
our quiet 2 a.m. hauntings.
At this hour, anything was possible.
By morning, her skin
would be unscathed.
In all that daylight,
the mothers clutching
car keys as we finished
our pancakes, we spoke
nothing of the wolves,
only shared sly, syrupy
smiles and trudged out
to the car, still
in our pajamas.

Anna Szilagyi is a college senior studying English and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Binghamton University. Her writing has appeared in Bustle, Outrageous Fortune Literary Journal, and Glass Mountain Literary Journal. When she is not writing, she reads Margaret Atwood and cross stitches feminist sentiments. Her poems and thoughts can be found at


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