In the Schwarzwald
by Lawrence Schimel

They take her brother to break her pride.
Gretel tears splinters from the barracks bed
to still the hunger that gnaws inside.

Through the iron gate, past the words:
Arbeit Macht Frei, she watches guards
throw loaves of bread to the birds.

Not even famine can make barbed wire
seem a candy house she could devour.
The guard tells her: Child, climb into the fire.

Gretel tells the guard: Show me how.
But the witches were not fooled so
easily in the camps at Dachau.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “In the Schwarzwald” is part of a sequence I’m writing, using that same title as the title for the series, using the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm as the lens through which to explore the Holocaust, both arising from the same Dark Forests of Germany.

IMAGE: “Hansel and Gretel” by Kay Nielsen (1886-1957).

Lawrence Schimel 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) writes in both English and Spanish and has published over 100 books as author or anthologist, including two poetry chapbooks in English, Fairy Tales for Writers and Deleted Names (both from A Midsummer Night’s Press), and one poetry collection in Spanish, Desayuno en la cama (Egales). He has twice won the Lambda Literary Award (for First Person Queer and PoMoSexual: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality), as well as the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Spectrum Award, and other honors. His stories and poems have been widely anthologized in The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, The Random House Book of Science Fiction Stories, The Mammoth Book of Fairy Tales, Chicken Soup for the Horse-Lover’s Soul 2, The Incredible Sestinas Anthology, Weird Tales from Shakespeare, and many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain where he works as a Spanish->English translator.