“We decided: We will have to kill her,”
the plucky little girl Gretel told her father
while staring at the confused stepmother.
Hansel smirked as boys do and described
the witch in the woods who helped them
when they had become lost. “But, Daddy,
she wanted to cook us!” The father hugged
his crying children, and his wife clenched
her fists as if holding onto a lie, not caring
if her palms should bleed.
Hansel and Gretel
stopped crying only when they began vomiting
up the house that they had eaten, candy bricks,
planks of cake, shattered sugar glass of windows.
Yes, their teeth would rot and fall out in weeks,
child smiles sculpted into a crone’s: all gum,
tight lips. A house all sweet won’t taste of home.
And powdered sugar became their favorite food.
A dust so easy to eat, confection easy to confuse
with flour, with white arsenic, with a fire’s ash.