The forest no longer frightens her, when she lies a breath away from him. Her arm slips between ribs and elbow, the palm of her hand resting on the slow movement of his stomach, the darkness slumbers at her back. So close to him, the scampering paws of wolves and bobcat slip below the sound of his beating heart.

She holds him in his sleep, the hem of her coat blocking the moonlight from his eyes. She will not go back, to the house of her mother and father, to the rooms that separate daughter from brother. Isn’t he the one that loves her, this gentle boy, his softness pressed up against her. He guided her to safety with a tug of the hand, away from lone in that house from days hot with endless scrubbing of the splintered floor and hatred steaming up the walls, every corner cleaned under mother’s scrutinizing eyes.

The wings of blackbirds fall in and out of the blue black night and she leans closer to this boy she loves, humming softly into his hair. He must not hear the hungry pecks, each bite dispersing the distant trail of bread. Her own body is fed by the sound, a hundred little nudges pushing them closer to a center of calm. If he stirs, he will find no reflection on the dirt ground. Tonight she will sleep without the wieght of shimmering stones to drag back the other life. Her only fear is that it will not last, this lusciousness of being lost.


GRETEL | 2000 | writings