Author’s Note: “The Wizard of Oz was probably one of the first movies I ever watched, and I loved the Wicked Witch. Often, villains are my favorite part of narratives, and she terrified me—her laugh, her power, her relentlessness. The poem is not an origin story, but something from her point of view; a poem that somehow became delicate and sympathetic. How different would the story be if Dorothy had just given her the shoes?”
Editor’s Note: Jona Colson’s poem is read live and featured in a public radio broadcast on Delmarva Public Media, “Delmarva Today.” Editors of the Delmarva Review discuss the content of the new edition. Link to the podcast: https://www.delmarvapublicmedia.org/post/delmarva-today-01-07-2022-part-two
The Wicked Witch of the West
All I wanted was my sister’s shoes—
the conjuring pair of ruby-studded slippers
to remind me of her before the farmhouse
plunged down and struck in mid-spell.
I had no intention of hunting
the girl and her dog,
or the three ignorant friends she made.
I do not like to use my power.
All comes back three-fold
in buckets of water that drown me.
I can see all of my mistakes.
No one is forever loyal,
not even guards or monkeys
that I winged in a rush of gratitude.
Jona Colson’s poetry collection, Said Through Glass, won the 2018 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. He is also the poetry editor of This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry and Fiction from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (WWPH, 2021). His poems, translations, and interviews have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Writer’s Chronicle, and elsewhere. He teaches in Maryland and lives in Washington, DC. Website: jonacolson.com
Delmarva Review, Volume 14, publishes new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from seventy authors that stood out from thousands of submissions during the year. The nonprofit review is available in print and digital editions from Amazon.com and other major online booksellers, as well as from regional specialty bookstores.
Funding support comes from individual tax-deductible contributions, sales, and a public grant from Talbot Arts with revenues from the Maryland State Arts Council. Website: delmarvareview.org.