In the real story, they never return.
No one knows what happens to them,
so life goes on, ordinary, flesh
long since grown over the wound—
if there is a scar, if some days
near the end of winter a faint whiff
of mud and lilac makes their father
pause, makes him almost forget
whose story he belongs to now—
well, that will pass with the detonation
of a dropped plate on tile,
or the patter overhead of new
small feet, charging into games
with the bullish certainty
of belonging. And maybe,
he thinks, all that past
was illusion anyhow. Remember?
They were not good children,
the ones who wandered into the forest.
Of their own volition, as he now recalls it.