portion of the artwork for Claire Scott's poem

Gretel & Hansel
Claire Scott

I need to clarify the record
the woods we wandered
were not at all lovely
but definitely dark & deep
no sunlight rimpled
through wide branches
breadcrumbs gone by noon
Hansel sniveling, lagging behind,
grousing how hungry he is
& suddenly there it is
the iconic gingerbread house
covered with gum drops & lifesavers
ginger snaps & spun sugar
I tell Hansel to steer clear
we all know this story
but the stupid boy snatches
a candy cane & of course
the witch grabs him with her bony fingers
& bottomless cackle
stuffs him into the cage (again)
what is a sister to do
poor Hansel can only handle so much
abandonment before psychosis sets in
the dumb witch keeps forgetting that
she shouldn’t crawl into the oven
to show me how
some sort of repetition compulsion
so it was pretty easy to do her in (again)
snag the jewels (again)
but let me interrupt myself here, dear reader,
I have to tell you I am sick of this fairytale
Hansel always gets top billing
the story always listed under “H”
but I was the one who schlepped water,
baked bread, scrubbed the house with Q-tips,
ate crab shells for supper
while he got roast chicken & French fries
I am the one who stuffed the witch in the oven
suffering second degree burns
I am the one stuck with PTSD
nightmares stealing my sleep
not Hansel who has completely
forgotten/repressed the story &
sleeps like the log he is.

& now, dear reader, please excuse us
I need to drag Hansel home (again)
we have miles to go before we sleep.

Yours truly,
Gretel


(First appeared in Dual Coast)


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 50 | Fall/Winter 2017