by Patrick Cabello Hansel

I don’t even like gingerbread.
It gets stale too soon; when
Dunked in milk, the crumbs
Float like tiny scabs. And

A trail of bread crumbs?
What woodsmen’s son
Would not know that
Would be eaten by birds?

Please, the children
Are always shown
Cowering and helpless
Beneath the toothless laugh

Of the haggard old witch.
Give me a young witch,
A hot witch, and let us
Have at each other

For a year or an hour,
Whichever comes first.
We will make hay,
We will make a scabby baby,

We will see who comes out
On top, and who gets shoved
In the oven. Am I a good
Enough little boy for you?

IMAGE: Scene from View-Master version of “Hansel and Gretel.”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I can’t tell you how many times I heard as a youngster: “Hey Hansel, where’s Gretel?” I always thought that the two children were way too wimpy and naïve, so I just riffed off a little edgier Hansel.

PCH current

Patrick Cabello Hansel
has published poems, stories and essays in over 30 anthologies and journals, including Hawai’i Pacific Review, Main Channel Voices, subprimal, The Ilanot Review, Ash and Bones, Switchback and Lunch Ticket. He was selected for the 2008-09 Mentor Series at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, and was a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grantee. His poem “Quitting Time” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News. He is the editor of The Phoenix of Phillips, a new literary magazine in the most diverse neighborhood in Minneapolis.