From Three Poems by 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
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.
Cooley’s collection of poems all inspired by the Salem Witch Trials is The Afflicted Girls.