by Jari Thymian

Can you believe –
          that clever witch called
          me a hussy and a charlatan?

Under my turban
          and Victorian dress
          a shy seventeen-year old,

a bookworm who’d never
          thrown my voice from any stage
          up to the high school balcony.

Before opening night, I didn’t know
          how intoxicating to spin drunk,
          to soothsay, to swallow the drug

of hatching heinous schemes to applause.
          The silly romance I tried to foil
          ended in a kiss and a curtain call.

Now, I am trapped on a white page
          void of script by the real witch
          whose lead role hex

lets me command only your brief gaze.

PAINTING: “Portrait of an Unknown Woman” by Karl Bryullov (1830).

PHOTO: The author in 2015 wearing a turban. Photo by Greg Fischer.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I found this painting of woman with a turban, I instantly felt the weight of the turban I wore for the senior class play in high school over 40 years ago. Being on stage with an audience was a rush I’d never experienced before. I had so much fun being someone else totally different — loud, brash, drunk, and dastardly.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jari Thymian’s poetry has appeared in both print and online publications including tinywords, FRiGG, Skylark, Cattails, KYSO Flash, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Bamboo Hut. She has poems anthologized in the Stories of Music from Timbre Press and in 2015 Haiku from Modern Haiku.