Hansel and Gretel
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.
How long since you’ve seen it?
That door? In every dream I heft its iron
and try my weight against it—
As if you were free.
As if I were free to come and go
without forgetting where I came from. Without
being forgotten. That old house
The latch clicked shut to seal your leaving.
It didn’t happen like that. I don’t remember.
You weren’t stopped by—did you say—
the moon did crack the night
above the maple branches—
You were young.
I was seventeen that summer,
licensed at last to drive myself
away from my father’s kingdom.
No one is ever felled by moonlight.
by moonlit grasses
by the shadow of that farmhouse
three smokeless chimneys lengthening
to the road’s edge…
The same light?
The world was charged with a future tense,
choices easily unmade. All I wanted
What? What did you tell yourself?
Air. All I wanted was some air.
Hannah Silverstein lives in Vermont and is a student in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Her poems have appeared in Whale Road Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Terroir Review, The Ekphrastic Review, SWWIM Every Day, and The New Guard.