If I Were Gretel, I Would Have Kept the Bread

Clancy Tripp | Poetry

in my pocket past staling, guarded against
scavengers & my own quicksand hunger—why
go back to being given up? Gimme the witch,
sugar stubble gumdrops & stoic chalky hearts
& candy cane impalement & yes, I felt
the oven’s full-hipped heat wall & yes,
I knew it was meant for me, but I’ve traded
my body for much less sweetness. I love

you in direct proportion to how quickly you
could disappear & I’ve got shark fins
& hummingbird wings, the extremities
and ultimatums of a bentneck hopeful & you
only go out in the woods wishing to live

deliberately if you believe the rest of the world
is not the woods. If you never got your knees dirty
waiting on somebody. If you look at the future like
it owes you lunch money. Take my lunch money.
I have to believe there will be dinner & the implied

you & the implied me will both be there
& even if I am late & get lost getting here
you’ll tell me there is time enough to wait
and more in the pot, love, there is enough
even after it’s all gone & listen, I’ll savor
all your bargain bin cherishing because
nobody appreciates room temperature quite
like somebody who is just now making it
in from the cold.