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Ava Leavell Haymon is the author of Eldest Daughter (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

The Witch Has Told You a Story

Ava Leavell Haymon
You are food.
You are here for me
to eat. Fatten up,
and I will like you better.

Your brother will be first,
you must wait your turn.
Feed him yourself, you will
learn to do it. You will take him

eggs with yellow sauce, muffins
torn apart and leaking butter, fried meats
late in the morning, and always sweets
in a sticky parade from the kitchen.

His vigilance, an ice pick of hunger
pricking his insides, will melt
in the unctuous cream fillings.
He will forget. He will thank you

for it. His little finger stuck every day
through cracks in the bars
will grow sleek and round,
his hollow face swell

like the moon. He will stop dreaming
about fear in the woods without food.
He will lean toward the maw
of the oven as it opens

every afternoon, sighing
better and better smells.

From Why the House is Made of Gingerbread by Ava Leavell Haymon. Copyright © 2010 by Ava Leavell Haymon. Used by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

From Why the House is Made of Gingerbread by Ava Leavell Haymon. Copyright © 2010 by Ava Leavell Haymon. Used by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Ava Leavell Haymon

Ava Leavell Haymon is the author of Eldest Daughter (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).