Inessa Akhmedova CC
How to Keep Sane in The Gingerbread House
—after Dan Albergotti
Smile and nod. Don’t flagellate yourself
or your sister for fawning after your captor.
Your instincts can preserve you better
than canning; better than aspic or salt.
Don’t gorge. Eat a regular amount of food
no matter what she plies you with.
Hide the extra cakes and sausages
in your pants cuffs. Give them to Gretel.
Cry. If your tormentor calls you sissy, ask yourself:
do I choose to listen to her voice?
When she claims to care for you, remember
how your parents loved the fatted lamb last Easter.
Sleep in your cage. When you shit yourself,
know she will crave you less. Blessed stench.
Be grateful that you are not yet adults.
They know love as betrayal, as famine.
Remember the breadcrumbs? Don’t blame the birds.
You can never return to what your mother gobbled up.
How dreadful? Think again. The past sugars over,
encrusts the rot. Burn it down.
Amy's work is currently featured in Bear Review, River Heron Review, and is forthcoming in Pirene's Fountain. She is an Oregon Literary Arts Fellow, a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, and an Oregon Poetry Association prize winner. When not writing, she matches international students at Lewis & Clark College with local residents to help them feel welcome and at home during their time in Oregon.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.