The Cookie Crumbles

Once upon a time
by Halifax
she’d called up Grandma living in the woods
to tell her she sent out the brat-skis
and expected back some sweet children
punched down by the crone who raised her
to be the smart cookie she turned into
“be sure you give them bread crusts”
grandma chides her favorite daughter,
“to feed my birds along the way
so the flock will be well primed
to pick them apart on the way back
should they try to break and run like their crummy father already has gone
before their raising bit is done.”
She seemed so sure about the kids
how easy they’d be to mold like her
well-bred to gingerly embrace adulthood
just as her mother had done for her
what magic they must have worked on her
when not but an autumn had come and gone
those awful children came back unchanged
with tales of capturing grandma’s heart
and having their fill of her candy house
enough to make a mama want to run off, alone
consumed by what might have been had she known
how escape comes easy if held off long enough
for that wicked witch’s mind to go like it did
at the end
head first in the oven with the gas on full
as soon as those ungrateful hellions went home

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