Some say it was Soyok Wuhti and some
say it wasn’t, but for a year the carved
doll of Ogre Woman, with knife and drum,
lived in my pocket. I was six, love starved,
though our bruja neighbor warned of curses:
children, even strange ones, shouldn’t be left
as toys for spirits deep in the mesas.
What did I know? I was six and bereft
for what I didn’t know. But after school
I’d take her out, play with her violent hair,
her black serpentine tongue, her jaw that clacked
at my kiss. Of course her cravings were cruel.
She taught me that lechery is like prayer.
I was six, love sick, wild for any pact.
Bruja is the Spanish term for witch, while in the Hopi pantheon of gods, Soyok Wuhti, is both female ogre and teacher who enforces good behavior among children. As with all gods and monsters she appears in three forms: as a spiritual being unseen by mortals, as a dancer in costume performing sacred rituals and as a kachina, a wooden doll carved from cottonwood root.