Mother In-Law

When she smiles, I am reminded of the candy skulls they make for Dia de los Muertos, saccharine and distasteful. Her sugary voice draws flies and her lips sprinkle us with, “hello, girls,” and a bad taste is left in my mouth. I shake off the extra sugar when I say back, “Did you just…?”

I suppose we’re only ‘girls’ when you hold us up to her aged skeleton and compare.

The sugar buzz rings in my ears at her words about the boys as well: “We’d love to grandparent them.” I burn calories in my elevated heart rate. You can’t take the boys, I bite my tongue. You couldn’t even handle them. Give them the choice and they’ll leave a bad taste in your mouth when they speak their mind about you.

Her lips are frozen in their smiling condescension. Her icing eyes blink as she fakes a long sigh, recalling the betrayal as her butterfly daughter turns from the honey trap, fluttering to the burning honesty of the sun, finally free, having once been “compliant”.

She weaves together a net now, but the web is sticky to her and her pawns. A string breaks free from her puppet when her voice is no longer sugar sweet, when finally the truth is told, and his head hangs low.

Gretel and her sisters will be coming back home.

The Oven
The oven that the wicked witch burns in.

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