I wander by her shop near midnight,
watch as she sweeps and feeds the black cat
she insists is a stray.
She comes outside to blow out the candles,
runs her fingers over the flame. I try it, too,
and she cackles. “Closer, darling.”
“Aren’t you afraid?” I ask, though she is right:
there is no heat, so close our fingers
pass to the wick.
“Real witches never burn, of course,”
she says, her voice as distant as