There wasn’t a woman alive
who was worthy of my father’s charms,
but I had his ears, his big brown eyes,
she took me readily to her arms,
and what long arms she had!
‘All the better to hug you with’,
she said, and scooping me
onto her knee she’d kiss my nose,
let me stroke the down of her cheek,
tickle the tufts on her chin.
How she’d howl, make me laugh
till I was weeping and weak,
then she’d feed me dumplings,
chicken pie, pears from a tin,
because it grieved her to see
a child so thin.
Once, when I was very good,
she wound up a hank of red wool,
cast the loops onto needles,
to clickety-clack me a cape and hood.
She’d boss me into my knitted cowl,
dust down her old fur coat,
lead me off on a flea market prowl
to sniff out bone combs, hat pins,
toothpicks and toggles,
or scavenge the remnant bins
for off-cuts of calico, dimity, chintz,
for her Forest Path patchwork quilt.
Then we’d trot home, she with her haggles,
me with my guilt for wishing to stay.
Grandma would hold my hand and say,
she was all the better for seeing me.
But when Mother came to take me,
Grandma’s big eyes narrowed with spite,
she unsheathed the most vicious of claws,
clenched her jaws for the bite.
I heard the growl maul up from her throat,
she slavered, and raged up a tempest,
that Mother could leave me without a coat!
Grandma ate her for breakfast.
Stella Wulf lives in South West France. Her work has appeared in The Screech Owl, Prole, The Stare’s Nest and Message in a Bottle. In 2012 she won third place in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly poetry competition. She is currently studying towards an MA in Creative Writing with Lancaster University. She is also an artist and her work can be seen on her website http://www.stellawulf.com