When there is no fruit upon the trees, you will find the hands of children fingerless.
This is simple mathematics, really, for the trolls must eat.
Myths and fables have them living under bridges, but this is inaccurate—
a cleverly written literary disguise, older than text itself.
They are residents of Everywhere and Everything,
of the past and the ever after
and they must eat.
We offered them our wheat, but winter suppressed our grain.
We then offered them our mead, but they prefer to keep their heads clear.
We then offered up our harvest, but they realized human gluttony as sin
and in the end
the only fruit that we could offer was that of our loins.
Tiny bones line the street, telling stories of dark afternoons
to which there is no end.
We as parents weep and wail and ask our gods why this happened.
Our answers come in bountiful harvests
and the prosperity in our fields
(the greens and golds of envy and wealth)
and the freedom to trip-trop over bridges that shadow the rivers
that wash the blood of our children away.