—in remembrance of Lilias Adie, who died in Torryburn, Fife, 1704

given she was alone when she died
given her prison cell
the sentence for her crime burn

given the prospect of her ashes
given the exhaustion from torment
she died ahead of time

given her burial ground
coastal mud saved for suicides
given the weight of a door of stone

to clamp her body down
given its iron ring
given her body unmourned

to the mud and the waves
given the people’s fear
they believed more than anything

she might rise
she might find them
given the grave cracked open

given her stolen witch’s bones
given the lasting curiosity
given the hollows of her witch’s skull

given the places for her eyes
given the places for her witch’s teeth
given the photograph taken before

her skull disappeared
from a University exhibit
give the stone slick

with bracken and rain and sea
given the voice of the mouth to the sea
given the complaint, the purpose

of these interrogations, drunken
name-calling, given the field and Devil
she said she knew, given her refusal

to give new names, given her confessions
defiance recorded in a book, given her wit
given all that would be worse for her

given her silences, given the unnamed
given how many women saved
given her choices witnessed by stone

given a mouth closed over her teeth
given her more than sixty years of age
given she lived alone, given forensics

given no reason the artist said
to pull her face
into an unpleasant

mean expression
given your thoughts
given the sight of her face


Carter McKenzie (she/her) is the author of the chapbook of poetry Naming Departure (Traprock Books, 2004), and two full-length books of poetry, Out of Refusal (Airlie Press, 2010) and Stem of Us (Flowstone Press, 2018). She is currently seeking a publisher for her chapbook-length poetry manuscript The Book of Fire.