The Witch

Adam Mc Omber

From the Diary of King James VI,

Edinburg, 13 January 1581


A young man scales the tower now nearly every night. He enters my sleeping chamber through the high and starlit window. I recognize him as a witch, for he has no weight and floats above the floor like a dream escaped my head. His handsomeness is such that I cannot fathom it written upon a man. His hair is a yellowish-white and his eyes are the color of palest amber. He crawls into my bed, smelling of smoke and cedar, and he talks to me in a voice so low I am caused to imagine moonlit tunnels deep inside the earth. He tells me there are wolves in the forest near the castle and that they have learned to speak. I ask him what the wolves say, and he says they whisper of James the young king who lives in the tower. And having heard their talk for so many nights, he has come to see for himself, sure he would find someone splendid and painted in gold. But I am neither splendid nor painted in gold. And yet, the boy licks his teeth and huddles closer, saying the wolves talk of other things too. They say that Christ was not a man. He was, instead, the limb of a much larger form. The wolves have travelled back along the limb and seen the great body for themselves. They have crawled upon its broad chest and seen its grinning face. “The face of God?” I ask. The witch boy kisses me then. His mouth tastes of acorns. “Not God,” he says. “Not everything is God.” He runs his dark tongue along my neck and reaches beneath the blanket to touch my cock. The wolves live in a cave full of rubies, he says. They sleep there amongst the stones and dream of the great body. They call it Time, but it is not exactly Time. He strokes my cock, slowly at first and then faster, and soon we have left the tower. We glide together in the forest amongst the shadows of the trees. I tell him not to fly too fast. He laughs and calls me his innocence.


Adam McOmber is the author of two novels, Jesus and John (Lethe Press) and The White Forest (Simon and Schuster), as well as two collections of queer speculative fiction, My House Gathers Desires and This New & Poisonous Air (BOA Editions). Adam’s work has appeared recently in Conjunctions, Kenyon Review and Fairy Tale Review. Adam teaches in the MFA Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.