At the Woodcutter's

by Rosalind Casey

There are so many missing children
So many breadcrumb trails
So many birds grown fat and happy
In so many fairy tales
She studies every cardboard carton
Every mailer, postage paid
There are so many daring princes
There are so many pretty maids
Most go off to seek their fortunes
Or pursue some private quest
A few come back with happy endings
And tale tellers forget the rest
Boys ignore the crow's directions
Insult a queen dressed as a crone
Girls go dancing till their shoes break
Sneaking from their palace home
Some climb out of bedroom windows
Or vanish walking home from school
Caught by a fairy lordling's lust
Or needed in a witch's brew
Some tumble backwards out of cradles
And some are forced to flee
When their fathers swear they'll wed
Only girls with Mom's beauty
Some eat stranger's candy houses
And roast on wicked women's stoves
Or get gobbled up by dear grandmas
Who turn out to be wolves
Some trust too much in peddlers
Taste whatever wares they take
Some prick themselves with spinning wheels
And fall asleep, and will not wake
She studies every cardboard carton
Reads the folktales and the lore
There are so many missing children
And she wonders, what's two more?

Rosalind Casey

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