I am waiting for my next meal,
stuffed birds, thick crusted bread
and moldy cheese
the old woman insists
my sister brings to me
although she is forbidden to touch
a single morsel or dropped crumb.
She must whistle the whole way
between the fire pit and my cage
that hangs from the tree on the hill
near the winter lodge.
Every third day the old woman
hobbles along the narrow path;
nearly blind, she taps her cane
against packed earth and stone
to stand with her face
pressed against the wooden
bars of my cage, her stinking breath
reaches me before the single word
she speaks: finger.
Instead, I hold out the bone
my sister left behind
for the old woman to stroke
before she turns away
muttering to herself.
In the lodge, my sister waits,
hiding wild onions and herbs
to garnish the stew
we will make of you, grandmother,
when she stabs your eyes,
and I climb from this filthy cage,
to shove you into the waiting pot.
and stoke the fire,
singing our song
to the motherless sky.
MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His poetry collections Time is Not a River, Morning Calm, and A Matter of Timing as well as a new chapbook, Jack Pays a Visit, are all available on Amazon. For more information:https://michaelminassian.com