Hansel’s End

April 12, 2011

A fantastic effort has failed, a repetition
In a repetitiousness of men and flies.

—Wallace Stevens

That apples fall, overripe in Eden…
that revelations have failed to uncover
the proportions, as such, of paradise,

is of no surprise, not to Gretel, for
she smells the pears, the bananas, the coffee.
We’ll have a nice breakfast out there, she thinks,

but nothing more. ‘Here comes the witch!’ the kids
all scream. ‘Let’s name her, Witch Gretel. She’ll steal
our cocks. She’ll leave warts on our hands!’

She lives alone out there
in a small cottage she named ‘Hansel’s End’.
She lives in dread of snails.

The kids all scream, ‘Here comes the witch!’
They call her Great Gret, after Brueghel. ‘If we
throw rocks, she’ll put us in a pie.’

She’s lived alone in Hansel’s End among
the silhouettes, in the vague hope
of luring Hansel back, of picking up his trail

of earth bound snails, the glistening path that‘s draped
on all the rocks , as if that old story were true
that snails were fallen angels,

as if an apple could tempt again, or fall,
overripe, in Eden. Some paradise.
Some revelation.  Still Gretel lives in

a masquerade. Even with all her rectitude
and probity, she can still see Hansel,
his trail of bread.  Look close! Don’t touch her tail.

There’s poison there, you know. And it will hurt
more than you know. She’ll eat your bones. She’ll lock
you up with chains and ropes of pain. She’ll lock

you in her scary stare, with her eyes set,
so deep in her scabby face—
like pomegranates here on earth,

like the mortal realm or the angels in
paradise, for they all fell…
There was a Witch named Aunty Blue,

who will steal both your socks but just one shoe.
Stop, little girl, she cried, for it’s too late
to run and hide. Your bones are deep inside

me now. I call you home,
home to Hansel’s End.

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