Zoe Mitchell


Some women are born to work with knives.
Just as some sing or stir their words, I

stand in the dark behind my clan, their guilty
secret. They need the smallest eye cut

from a creature, skin, sinew and bloody shanks
to fill their blackened pots with magic.

They say my arched back lacks music –
my shoulder rotates to penetrate an innocent

or a petty accuser on their behalf but they will not
let me dance. They can’t cauterise their disgust

at the ominous shapes I offer up to moonlight.
My liberty lives in the murky corners

other women wilfully ignore. I live my life
forever behind a half-open cupboard door;

everyone knows I’m there but no one wants
to acknowledge my steel. I can shatter bone.

I know my true sisters from the blood under
their fingernails. Like me, they have the soul

of a surgeon, the eyes of a butcher and the stealth
of a mother with a sleeping child. We watch over

our stew of secrets and when the time comes,
advance from the kitchen and cut out your tongue.



Zoe Mitchell lives and works on the South Coast. She has been published in a number of national poetry magazines including The Rialto, The London Magazine and The Moth. She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, focused on witches in women’s writing. She recently won the Indigo-First Collection Competition and her first poetry collection will be published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2019.