The Marble House and The Witch

The brother and sister ride silently in the car

They are used to this

Being taken somewhere and then left behind

 

The boy throws his gummy snacks out the window

One by one

He hates cherry flavoured things

The children have long since given up hope

that the snacks will lead a parent to them

 

He does it in an act of rebellion

But the person driving the car has unshakable patience

And he does not earn a response

The car drives on and

He continues dropping gummy snacks

 

The car comes to a stop at a house that doesn’t look like all the other houses

On that street

It has big windows, with the curtains pulled back, for letting in lots of light,

Flowers flaring with colors, stretching up from their beds,

A bright blue door,

And a flower pot on either side of the entry way full of

Not more flowers

But marbles

So many colorful, flashing marbles

The boy wants to pick one up

Or maybe touch them all

 

The girl shakes her head at him in warning

The women driver leans forward to ring the doorbell,

Even the chime is lovelier than any other house’s,

And the boy is quick to steal the brightest and most eye catching marble

He puts it in his pocket and does not look at his frowning sister

 

The door opens and the smell of cookies wafts through the air

The girl continues to frown

And the boy wipes his face into blankness

The woman driver is reserved as always

But she smiles politely and shakes the hand of the witch

who opened the door

 

She has dark, curling hair

Like ropes that could extend, catch, and hold onto a person forever

Her eyes shine with delight

And her teeth show when she smiles

But she can’t be trusted

No one they are left with can be trusted

Especially not when they are beautiful and have a marvelous house like this

 

The boy or the girl will surely mess the house up,

Accidentally,

And then the witch will not smile and her eyes will stop shining

And she will show what kind of witch she is

And the lady driver will return only long enough to leave them somewhere else

 

The brother and sister are used to this

 

But the witch seems nice

She lets them have some of the cookies,

She even offers one to the women driver,

And asks them not to get too many crumbs on the rug

She gives them napkins to wipe their hands,

But doesn’t get mad when the boy wipes his hands on his pants anyway

She just says that she can wash the stain right out

 

The siblings find it weird and scary that the woman is so nice to them

“Too nice,” whispers the girl to her brother

Warning him that witches always have a dark side

 

But this witch’s dark side is very hard to find

The boy accidentally knocks over his milk and all she does

Is tell him not to cry over spilled milk

He doesn’t understand why she thinks he would cry

But he rushes to clean it up

She thanks him and helps him

No witch has done that before

 

The witch shows them to some rooms and

Asks if they want to share a room or not,

Tells them both doors have locks,

Says they can go shopping for clothes or better bedding or anything they need

No witch has ever done that before

 

The siblings stay with the witch

And are confused

And make mistakes

And have accidents

And are helped

And taken care of

And start to become more comfortable

 

They all watch television,

Play in the backyard,

Eat meals,

And go to the store

Together

 

The boy never mentions the marble he stole the very first day

But he secretly treasures it

And always admires the two pots of

Glimmering, sparkling

Marbles by the front door

Whenever they enter or leave the house

 

The children don’t play in the front yard

The witch asked them if they wanted to play in the backyard,

And they did,

But she didn’t say anything about the front yard

The children don’t want to risk angering her,

Even though it seems unlikely,

So they don’t ask about the front and the boy

Keeps his one, stolen, marble a secret

Switching it from pant’s pocket

To pant’s pocket

 

Until one day he reaches into his pocket

And his marble isn’t there

He checks his hamper and

the witch has taken his clothes to wash them

It could have fallen out

He hopes his marble fell out of his pocket

He hopes the witch won’t find it in his dirty pants’ pocket

He doesn’t want to have to leave

 

The boy sits in his room

And he waits

 

The witches calls him and his sister

She is standing by the front door

 

Her beautiful, curly hair is not reaching out to catch him

Her eyes are still shining and her teeth still show when she smiles

She does not look mad

She is holding his stolen marble

 

She says that she almost washed it,

That she thinks it’s his

She hands the marble back to him

The best, brightest marble

She says that she forgets the marbles are even in the flower pots,

That she just put them there because the flowers in those pots kept dieing

She says they can go play in the front yard

She says he can play with

All the marbles

While she pulls some weeds

She had been dreading pulling weeds

And therefore ignoring the whole front yard

She opens the front door and they all go outside

Together

 

This witch is different from all the others

She is beautiful and gentle

She doesn’t like when the children feel afraid or sad

She likes it when they feel safe and happy

Some might even say she feeds off of it

This poem is about: 
Our world

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