Hansel and I returned home,
The seams of our pockets splitting open
Under the weight of the witch’s coins,
To our father’s hugs and kisses.
Yet how awkward
to sit across the well-set dinner table
making small-talk with the loving father
who crept from us in the woods as we slept.
How happily it all turned out, he says.
He babbles about our amazing luck,
our unimaginable story,
which had to be so, for who would hurt a child?
He knows this. We should have been
reduced to delicate children’s bones,
torn by the wild things
who belong to the forest, who do not cry in the dark.
How easy it would be to pin it all
on the stepmother. But she was only
one sad half the sin.
He still abetted. At night,
Hansel comforts me again
Since I am as unsettled
in this neat loving home
as in any gingerbread coven.