- · vol. 1 · no. 3 · April 2001


Three Poems Introduction | I | II | III
Nicole Cooley

Testimony: He or His Apparition

About noon, at Salem, Giles Corey was press'd to death for standing Mute. -- Samuel Sewall, Diary, September 19, 1692

The girls' testimony is gravel scattered on the grass.

Ann Putnam: Giles Corey or his Apperance has most
   greviously afflected me by beating pinching and almost
   Choaking me to death

Inside the meetinghouse each afflicted girl repeats the next.

Mercy Lewis: I veryly beleve in my heart that Giles Cory
   is a dreadfull wizzard for sence he had ben in prison he
   or his Apperance has come and most greviously
   tormented me

The copier flattens the page, hammers down identical

Sarah Bibber: I have ben most greviously affleted by giles
   Cory or his Appearance

But the man won't speak to defend or plead. He sits still and
   silent in his pew.

Mary Warren: At the time of his examination I saw: s'd
   Cory or his appearition most: dredfully afflect: Mary
   Walcot An putnam. Mercy lewes & Sarah Vibber

The morning of his execution: the meetinghouse floods with
Outside a circle rises around the punished man:
the magistrates pile stone after stone on his ribs to crush
   him into speech.

Nobody can see the lesson: nothing can drive the voice
   out of the body.

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