There was no witch.
There were days and days of wandering
There was one small loaf
and two hungry children.
There was his face, baby-fat
and so innocent
I couldn’t help giving him my share.
There was the part of me that hated him
for his stupid questions
and the lies and lies I told him softly
to keep him safe.
There was a cabin covered in moss
that I told him was a kind of candy —
if we chewed it enough, it would become sweet.
He believed me, set about his eating,
then slept the easy sleep of the safe.
I started the oven without knowing
what had been set loose in me.
I stroked his arm, not yet thinned,
I rubbed his child belly.
He woke up and asked, What are you cooking?
Why don’t you go and see, I said.
He turned and walked toward the fire.
He leaned closer and closer,
and I reached out my hand — for what,
I couldn’t say.
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