It makes sense now: your mother died.
Your mother died, and your father,
he couldn’t be alone. He feared for you, too—
the motherless child.
Secretly, he dreamt of her arms,
legendary and silk white.
He hid these fantasies, buried them
beneath sweet talk for the new woman.
He was blinded by grief. You knew.
You knew she was evil.
His love, the white of your arms,
she was jealous instantaneously: she invested
in charms to soften the skin, to lighten age spots,
to delude herself into thinking he loved her—
that it was her name he called in the night.
Days dragged, skin wrinkled, and she grew bitter.
There are numerous plots.
You are sent into the woods
with your brother on false pretenses.
You escape the witch’s house, pockets weighed
down with sweets and revenge.
You are sent into the woods again,
and she bewitches every brook.
You leave a queen, your brother transformed from
boy to deer to boy (and no, he will never be quite
the same again, the way he gazes at the moon,)
Once again, the woods. A failed murder.
This time, she hides herself in a witch’s costume—
you snicker that it isn’t far off her natural look—
she angers, feeds you something with apples—
your allergy is legendary—
you wake up to the kiss of a machine
in the core of an ambulance,
you wake up to the sounds of sirens