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

a memory.