By Tori Cárdenas
I don’t put much stock into fairy tales and I sure as hell
know my own mother when I see her.
Or, I thought I did.
When she twists around on me again and again,
rolling crocodilian without sight, without reason,
so unlike her, driving splinters into my arms and back,
filling me with foxglove tea, while I push her closer
to the stove, in hopes the heat will expel that in which
such distrust has flourished, that which has made me fear
for my life like I did as a child.
Food and sleep seem threats.
The knot in my stomach grows with each black hair I add.
Chills, fever, pains—
I feel them, when I am not the one ill.
Captured and replaced by something with no knowledge
of this world or how it works, unaware of its cruelties,
unfamiliar with deceit.
This night past, I crept to her room in the night and her cover
I drew back—
when I unwrapped her, she was but a bundle of sticks.
To drive from her this curse, I must hold her over the fire.
Tori Cárdenas was born and raised in Taos, New Mexico. After graduating from the University of New Mexico, her work has been published in Conceptions Southwest, As/Us Journal, the Eunoia Review, and the Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art.