Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Poem for a Protective Brother

Though it was Gretel who wept and whined
for home and Hansel who bit his lips and held
her hand, who hummed and hugged her
in the dark forest until the moon lifted the shadows
like cobwebs or silk pinched between its fingers
and those white pebbles gleamed like wet eyes. 
Though it was Gretel who wept and whined
for home and Hansel who went hungry,
his pockets slowly emptying of bread
the birds stole into the dark, their bellies
full of light, and though it was Hansel
who bit his lips and held his sister’s hand,
hummed, and hugged her, though Hansel
was the big strong boy who wanted to—
bless him—protect his frightened sister,
remember it was Hansel locked in the birdcage,
who stopping humming, and little Gretel who swept
the small cottage, who stoked the fire,
who pushed the enchantress into the oven,
who lived the rest of her life with the fragrance
of burning flesh and gingerbread in her nostrils.

Ruth Daniell

Ruth Daniell is a Canadian writer and the editor of Boobs: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts (Caitlin Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in ArcCV2Event, and Grain. Most recently, she was awarded first prize in the 2016 Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest with The New Quarterly. She is currently at work on a collection of poems about the contemporary search for “happily ever after.”

Artwork: Mary Chiaramonte, Perennial

This entry was published on May 28, 2017 at 12:01 am and is filed under 24 (May 2017), Archive, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Poem for a Protective Brother

  1. Pingback: New poetry in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine | Ruth Daniell

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