When the story ends—the hero’s hands wiped clean,
sword gleaming above the mantel—
there are those of us who find the belly of a castle
is no place for children who grow
like weeds, like vines, like yellow straw.
There are other predators than wolves,
upright beasts in fine cloth, with charming smiles
who can’t be stopped
with a rose or a kiss or a promise.
Sooner the belly of a wolf
whose hunger for meat and blood is honest
where given time
we might cut our own way free.
Under cover of night, we slip from too-soft beds
and flee through doors with practiced ease.
Our skills earned from years with witches,
spells and huts, where one misstep
meant hot coals, wide jaws or a hunter’s knife.
Some follow the stars or a compass of ivory.
A lucky few pull mirrors from their pockets
and whisper questions
while others put their nose to ground,
ears cocked for the baying hounds.
We find each other, join hands
as we wind through now familiar trees,
our eyes bright as mirror shards,
our feet tough as iron nails.
If asked where we’re headed, we’ll shrug, mumble
something about grandmother’s house
while we follow the whispered pull
of home, home, home.
is where the woods are.
Home is where the old cottage burns to cinders
to feed the soil.
Home is where we kick off our dancing shoes
loose our hair,
bury our toes in the dirt
and grow roots
deep enough to tear down the tower
stone by stone by stone.
Home is a garden where once grew a briar,
where we bloom like apple blossoms
and shine like spun gold.
Spread the word!