National Poetry Month Day 15: “Alternate Ending: My Grandmother As Gretel” by Kate Schmitt


Welcome to The Rumpus’s National Poetry Month project. We’ll be running a new poem from a different poet each day for the month of April.

Alternate Ending: My Grandmother As Gretel

“Hansel and Gretel is the saddest story;
it’s the one where hunger comes first.

~ Frederick Busch

Years in those woods,
lichen on her cheeks, vines
pulling her ankles.
Hunger clawing inside.

She finally found the candy house,
dark as licorice; the constant ticking
of days inside her skull fell silent,
replaced by the witch’s whisper.

This way. A darkness so dense
it took even the bird’s distant twitter
and turned it in on itself
The oven door swung open
so quietly, so easily.

She waited only a little time on the threshold,
fingers trailing across the heads of the swirling
white and red peppermint children
who were guarding the door.

Kate Schmitt

If you like what the Rumpus is doing for National Poetry Month, you’ll probably like this multimedia anthology of original poems we’ve run at The Rumpus over the last three years. Available only for iPad. Check it out!

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →