hungry witches

 

Mother, 

    you told me a witch devoured little girls —

a warty witch,

a cackling witch,

a hungry witch,

hungry for little girls. 

Little girls with quick tongues

            picky stomachs

                pepper-hot tempers. 

All the better to eat you with, my dear, their piquancy dancing on her molars. 

Bones would be no barrier — only 

    a delicacy, 

    to be sucked dry, 

    sinuous tongue licking them clean, 

    rusty marrow staining her goldenrod teeth.

Little girls like me. 

That was unspoken (unless the glass cracked, and the words etched themselves)

Mother, 

    little girls grow up and cast away

        fairy tales

        cautionary tales

        hungry witches

No longer do my bones creak with the thrilling terror 

    of being emptied, but Mother, 

I wasn’t devoured by the witch. 

    No. 

It was those glass words, 

    swollen with your

        frustrated hopes

that

    swallowed me whole.


Anna Cabe is a MFA candidate in fiction at Indiana University. Prior to moving to Indiana, she was a 2013-2014 Fulbright Fellow in Indonesia. Her work has appeared in The Toast, Racialicious, and Mangrove, among others. She was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Kore Press Short Fiction Award. You can find Anna on Twitter @annablabs.