Hannah Silverstein

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.

Enough Moonlight

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—                                 

                                 Moonlight? Sure
                                 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.

                                  I was

                                                             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                            

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.