Those who stay are either those to blame or those too slow.
Either the mother finds fault and the grandmother does not, or the grandmother finds fault and the mother follows suit.
If the grandmother dies, then the girl gets the ledger of secrets. The girl does not have the ledger. Therefore the grandmother stays, secret.
Both the mother and the grandmother eat first.
Only the grandmother gets the bones.
The mother does not have the girl’s best interests at heart.
The grandmother knows the girl’s interests, though she does not know her heart.
The grandmother does not have the mother’s blessing.
The mother’s blessing is a curse.
The grandmother sees herself in the mirror. The mother smiles back.
All who leave the woods, leave full, and all who leave the woods, leave fully. Either both are true or both are false. Only the girl will know the answer.
Patricia J. Miranda is a Filipina-American poet and fiction writer whose work has been featured in Frontier Poetry, Heron Tree, Hunger Mountain, Into the Void, Kitaab, Winter Tangerine, and several other literary journals. She is currently working on a chapbook inspired by fairy tales.