A Mother Speaks
Here's the truth of it. There was no witch,no house of gingerbread, no trail of crumbs.No, there was only us, the woods, and the gnawof cold. Your father was the first to slipinto the shadows stretching from the trees.The dark would echo with your screams and wehungered. Some bones hold only so much meatbut at least we didn't starve. The sun returnedand soon the days were warm, and we forgotthe night until it crept into our cornersand the wind wound round the house. We huddled closeto the oven’s warmth, but even fires go out:There was no wood, no coal, no food, untilyour fingers grew as thin as chicken bones.I watched you shiver in your cribs, carriedback to when I held you in my bellyswollen as the moon. I can ignorethe breath in sleep that isn't there, scrub awaythe blood. But now I feel you, children,pressing at my ribs like prisonersfingering the bars of their cage.
“Jewel” by Ellen La Fleche