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91st Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Candyhouse to Gretl

by frithar

Candyhouse to Gretl 

Not quite sixteen when she cursed me. I cannot remember 
my offense. She called to me in the husked voice of my love, lured 
me into forests of evergreen and bone, woods with no paths.

There her fury kindled. She trembled and grew me, stretched 
and caverned me into cracked timbers: a house that must shelter her. 
A house she would watch consumed by birds, beasts, and wanderers, 

slowly eaten, ripped and chunked. "Let them shred and peel you," she intoned,
scratching at my walls with her cane as she passed, room to room. I 
saw the two of you walking and I let the winds shift me, enough to catch 

sunlight, to glint your way. Your brother caught the flash, brought you 
to me, the only children I ever carried within. I nursed you on lemon panes 
and honey-wheat door, bricks of molasses cake, ginger cane-mortar,

sugared cherry wattle and peppermint crunch daub. Take and eat.  I 
watched her bundle you into beds. I blew warm apple blossom breezes 
over you through my windows, a patter of rain like a heart beat, 

the dance of a plank swing on an old oak limb. Tiny Gretl, you hid 
under the table as she dragged and caged Hansel, but you were never in 
danger. I alone controlled my fires and when you pushed her 

to me, I breathed deep as a bellows and we scorched her, top and tail. 
She shriveled to no more than a walnut. I cracked open my floor slats
to bestow her gold, the only inheritance I could offer my children.

First appeared in Young Ravens Literary Review. 

See all the entrants to 91st Weekly Poetry Contest