So many substitutions in this story:
stepmother for mother, brother for father,
morsels of muffin for little white stones,
and once the oven is hot, witch for boy,
and in earlier locations, Gretel for pearl,
girl for teeth, take my thumbs for chicken bones,
grandma, take my babies for wolf meat.
I’d give you my incisors, my mother said
when I knocked out my own, carrion for crow,
cave for castle, ogre for goat who suddenly regrets
he didn’t eat the damn kid when he could have.
It’s a wonder any of us get back home.