Hansel Ties the Knot

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Second Place, March 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen

For Teresa White

It never happened the way you imagined, celebrity was worth
the loss of stuffed dogs. Sis and I made big news after our

abduction, front page of People Magazine, that Oprah interview.
Gretel was never entirely free of it, her maid-of-honor dress

sized Zero, not an easy accomplishment for a girl with Teutonic
eyes and tightly woven pig-tails. Still the old witch taught us

the merits of binge and purge. For a time, I dated only women
with cauldrons and warty noses, a chin-hair or a mole would start

an itch deep in my hosen. Finally though, I fell in love, comforted
by the stability of a baker’s daughter. Her perfume is yeasty,

like the loaves her father bakes; pumpernickel, whenever
we wanted. Auch, you should witness the skills she has

with fondant. Our windows might melt with the first blast
of a summer sun, but if living on love runs out, there is always

the rush of sweet sugar. Did we turn out alright? Ja, there is no
residual terror. Gretchen is expecting; already, there is a cake

in the ovens. I cannot wait to diaper and spank the rump-roast
hiney of our first-born child. Instead of bread crumbs,

my Beloved tosses rose petals before us and they curl
into sunbursts that lead the way out of a dark forest night.

With an opening that mixes modern lingo and age-old myth this poem seems at first like an exercise in being both light-hearted and witty. But there’s a question we all want to ask the victims of bad experiences and Hansel asks it: “Did we turn out alright? Ja, there is no residual terror.” We want to believe him but he speaks again: “…already, there is a cake/ in the ovens. I cannot wait to diaper and spank the rump-roast/ hiney of our first-born...” My blood ran cold. --Deborah Bogen