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Hansel and Gretel

by Rob Carney

In this one, we know what’s coming:

The kids will shove that witch in her oven,


her shrieks—Oh, Lordy—like knives

in the gingerbread air.


Slam the door

and they’re muffled, then


they’re none, then probably

a smell we shouldn’t dwell on.


But what comes next?

A lot of walking;


birds have wings,

but kids don’t.


Birds can get by on a scatter of seeds,

but not them.


Then finally the border,

and a cage with a Thermo-Lite blanket,


or a cot in a tent next to other tents—

how high can you count?


And how long is each week of this?

Who would invent such slow clocks? . . .


The new witches here have policies

and gingerbread excuses.


They have employee parking and, I guess,

some way to muffle doubt.

About the Author

Rob Carney is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Book of Sharks (Black Lawrence Press, August 2018), and two more forthcoming in 2020-21. In 2014 he received the Robinson Jeffers/Tor House Foundation Award for Poetry. His work has appeared in Cave Wall, Columbia Journal, and many others, and he writes a regularly featured series called "Old Roads, New Stories" for A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments. He lives in Salt Lake City.

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