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Words for Thought (Short Fiction Review)
Oz was a dismal place in those days.
Rule of witches is never a formula for happiness.
Not evil witches, nor good witches,
nor woods witches or all–knowing sorceresses.
Too many witches, they say, spoil the potion.
The spirits in Oz were angry then.
Who can be a sane witch when listening
to those whispering voices wail and moan
about the loss of balance in the land?
The Witch Wars unbalanced more than the land.
People saw things no one should see,
did things no one should do.
We became things no one should see, or hear,
or suffer to live, to coin a phrase.
That was where the Tin Man came from really,
The official story was a lie made up for him
by one of the Good Witches, so people could forget
how many he killed with that axe.
The heart did its work, though,
and thanks be to the girl who thought of that!
She was the one who bound the lion, too,
stole its power and made it meek enough
The yellow bricks ran with red like spring rain
so much, then, that the girl made a joke
about dying her silver slippers ruby red.
And still the witches, the surviving witches,
warred with each other.
Monkeys filled the skies.
It had to stop, for even Oz runs out of witches
eventually. Leaving only a few tired hags
and that weapon maker they called The Wizard.
The less said about the scarecrow and his love
for setting fire to witches, the better.
The peoples of Oz have a mania for cleaning now.
Cleaning and painting, scrubbing and sanding.
The world shines like a new happier land.
If you listen, at night, you can still hear
the moanings of the spirits of witches,
lingering ghosts of a war fought for vanity,
and a handful of emeralds.