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Nuwe skryfwerk | New writing > Poësie | Poetry > English > Published poets

A Tale to Tell


Gail Dendy - 2011-10-06

Untitled Document

A Tale to Tell

I’m sure the tale had been known before, the one
that jumps the gap of disbelief before
flattening out beneath the tongue.
But for now, it has inexplicably stopped
a foot or two beyond the garden gate,

and takes a long, last look at Hansel and Gretel
and their dear papa vanishing into the forest’s maw.
This story must’ve sat in the loft for a year
like an injured bird. Still, when the rumours started
of its coming here, it seemed almost familiar,

despite its smell of half-damp news-wrap
and its mooning about over pebbles and bread.
It’s a tale as tall as a house. It’s not one I would trust.
They say its eyes shift like a child’s at too many sweets,
that it’s callous and cold, sometimes talks back.

I’ve heard, too, that it lies. It says I’m a witch.
They say you can’t stop it if it targets you.
But where does it end? Does anyone know?
Here is my kitchen. Here is my stove,
and in its iron belly a fire grows.