I’d given up hope. Hadn’t eaten in three
days. Resigned to being wolf meat ...
when, unbelievably, I found myself in
a clearing. Two goats with bells
round their necks stared at me:
their pupils like coin slots
in piggy banks. I could have gotten
the truth out of those two,
if goats spoke. I saw leeks
and radishes planted in rows;
wash billowing on a clothesline ...
and the innocuous-looking cottage
in the woods with its lapping tongue
of a welcome mat slurped me in.
In the kitchen, a woman so old her sex
is barely discernible pours a glass
of fraudulent milk. I’m so hungry
my hand shakes. But what is this liquid?
“Drink up, sweetheart,” she says,
and as I wipe the white mustache
off with the back of my hand:
“Atta girl.” Have I stumbled
into the clutches of St. Somebody?
Who can tell. “You’ll find I prevail here
in my own little kingdom,” she says as
she leads me upstairs—her bony grip
on my arm a proclamation of ownership,
as though I've always been hers.