This one’s seed came from Abby. It’s a poem for step-sisters and mothers-in-law and witches and all the women who exist in stories only to be conquered.
On stumps, with half-blackened eyes,
their stubby wrists blunt
and gentle like dolphin’s noses,
they gather, these ugly sisters.
They whisper like magpies,
comparing notes, each with each,
of last dances, the scent of apples
in a hastily emptied barrel,
the whisk and crisp of flame.
Broken dolls, laid aside, they mutter
and weep: did we never taste blackberries?
How should we know what
we were, they sigh, these ghosts,
who have only their deaths to guide them.