The 2River View  

Sarah SorensonListen

Hansel and Gretel

I. Abandonment

It was everyone’s fault,
because everyone was hungry.
So the ditch rats,
stuffed through the ribs with rejection,
were spat out whole and pink,
Slick and wet with the globbed spit
of farewell; goodbye; good luck!

Given back to the sap of foreign grasses,
they grappled with the nighttime,
and lost their names in its darkest bits.

The crumbs were left to bake
among the ruins of home.
Eyes vacant; birds throng.

II. My First Home

I learned the rules of attraction
after the first construction,
which was spit-shined together
with colostrum and roe,
the spiny backs of half-skinned fish,
and gills stirred into a mother-of-pearl-paste,
slapped onto ginger walls
as spackle
and an embalming glue.

I welded the cages together with
doves’ nests, brine waste.
The journeying babble of the stream
carried the suffering downwind
and out of range.

The snow came in blankets of powdered sugar.

III.  A House of Gingerbread

How lost is lost, anyway;
and how gory is the prospect
of my crystalline lure,
plunked right down out of the dreary cold
and released, salivating, into their wildest dreams?

IV.  The Fire /  The Homecoming

No one gets fatter.
I burn the fire brighter.
The last legs of twilight dash about
on walls of yeast and cider.

They trudged home with pockets full
of my jewels and sugar-glazed glass,
the smell of my smoke shocked into their skin
like an atomic blast,

Two silhouette-shadows.
Back, now, into the thick grease of the everyday,
the dead eyes of the new mother,
the creaky hinge of the old father.

They follow the birds back to where it all began,
without the guidance of the crummy remnants.

Crows and grackles and starlings,
the beating shame-song of robins’ wings.