Sophie played with fire, torched a blackberry patch
to smoke out the vile Rat who hid there by day
after haunting her nights in the Booby Hatch.
Booby Hatch—that’s what she called the town of gray,
hidden in thorny brambles that snatched and scratched,
laying at the heart of her dreamtimes’ forays.
The residents there were as mad as March hares;
she had to kill Rat, or forever live there.
When the cold sun rode high, and the Rat laid low,
Sophie came prepared with matches and sharp knife.
Her bare feet left tracks in the white, crusted snow,
from the house of Father and his second wife—
not her mother, the jealous, usurper Zo.
A witch, the girl knew, whose resentment ran rife.
Heavy with child, the witch wanted Sophie gone,
so it would be Zo, baby, and father, John.
When the bare, spiney briars had burned to the ground,
no smoldering city, no black, smoking forms,
no charred bones, nor single tooth was to be found—
just puddles of water, like after a storm.
The witch had tricked her, had moved the gray town,
but Sophie’s sharp eyes discerned cuneiforms
in the few, singed sticks that had escaped the fire,
derived their intendment, knew what was required.
Back to the fine house where once she’d been happy,
before Mother had died and Zo took her place.
Zo turned Father into a slack-jawed zombie
who only saw Zo’s wicked, beautiful face.
No longer was Sophie his cherished sweetie;
his love for her Zo banished, leaving no trace.
Nightly, Sophie heard his licentious plea:
“Please come to bed, Wife, so I can play with thee.”
She opened the kitchen door, the witch stood there;
But Sophie saw past pretty Zo’s conjured spell—
saw Rat stirring the pot, she said a quick prayer.
Rat turned, and her shocked, perfidious face fell.
Today was the day to set everything square,
dispatch Zo and her spawn to the fires of hell.
With a frenzied grin that lit up her green eyes,
she slashed Zo’s fat stomach—watched witch and babe die.
Image by bayram aksu from Pixabay