Kailey Tedesco

new jersey dirt


my whole body convulses in the direction of memory—we come from cul-de-sacs to unchoke
witches from their burial, cursing men with salt guns who hunted in this very town, made

seedlings of their wives. too often, i feel them in my dreams, women like my aunt & mother
coming toward me with nubbed wrists, hands taxidermied on the walls, glass eyes glued

to the third finger. in new jersey, dirt becomes sand becomes clay. my sleeves in the dirt become
corn-husk dollies & i emerge fully pining, speaking tongue-kin, & slitting my own palms

in tryst—safer, for now, to keepsake my blood. i’m feral in my craving for the bread-sop
of plated meat, fruit-stained hands & aprons. one witch left gold lockets in my mattress as a

token of her appreciation & i sign her books easily & crumble, thumbelina. mother has her hands
back now & uses them to warn me of floorboards & becoming kept beneath them. i’m so small,

all my hems curl upwards, making it necessary for bibles to press my dresses. i’m most frightened
of becoming pieced—my bones dansing macabre from my skin, miniature as teeth. 

witches learn to lick their own wounds & so it is polite to let them alone once they’ve been
unearthed. i spend this night cowering in my favorite tree, an ornament in summer.


Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing) and Lizzie, Speak (White Stag Publishing). She is a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine and a co-curator of A Witch’s Craft panel & reading series. You can find her work featured or forthcoming in Electric Literature, Grimoire, fields, Black Warrior Review, Gigantic Sequins, and more. For further information, please follow @kaileytedesco.