Gingerbread House Lit Mag

We Are Twelve

I am sure he will know me.

Father wagers he will not,
Certain enough to tether my
Future, my life, to a
Game of chance.

            (Father never asked me
If I wanted to play.)

No one can tell you sisters apart,
He always boomed,
Hearty and heedless, admiring, but
Not quite seeing his flock of twelve.

But my husband will know me.

Though he’ll say its my
Needle-pricked fingers
That give me away

(He made me sew all the clothes
For the children I bore him,
Laughing indulgently as blood beaded
My untrained fingertips)

Something in my sisters’ eyes
Will be different,
Free, Untouched,
Untamed, fiercely
Who they have always been.

Something in my eyes
Will be hunted,
Afraid, imprisoned,
What he made of me.

He’ll know me.

But my sisters know
What he did to me,
Know what happened when
They left me behind on that
Long ago shore.

Under their feather cloaks
They carry curtain ropes,
Fire pokers, knives taken
From the kitchen.

I wear his old needles in a
Leather cuff on my wrist.

Whatever happens,
I won’t be leaving with him.

Whatever happens,
We are Twelve.

Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman

Dr. Sara Cleto and Dr. Brittany Warman are award-winning folklorists, teachers, and writers. Together, they founded The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic, teaching creative souls how to re-enchant their lives through folklore and fairy tales. Their fiction and poetry can be found in Enchanted Living, Uncanny Magazine, Apex Magazine, Liminality, and others.

 Artwork: Brooke Shaden

This entry was published on August 31, 2022 at 12:01 am and is filed under 52 (August 2022), Current Issue, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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