by Brianna Flavin
Gretel in the Snow
First it’s the good sugar, all baby
it's cold outside and warm hands of the lover
on your spine. While any fool could see
the trees turning to spindle points,
yes, every house is growing teeth—but there's
the lover again, freckles in auspicious constellation
across his shoulders, mark of his mother
like the sickness your mother tried to block
from you, those winters with her babies
safe at home while she drove, what came to shape
in the headlight snow, how she toyed
with letting the steering wheel go.
Now the lover is drawing the poison out
with his mouth.
Now the stars on his body map
a path back home.
Now Gretel, there are crumbs on the floor,
are you still the child so starved for Kekse,
she crumples more than she consumes?
Have you spent your night in the drifts
dreaming frosting, is your brain frostbitten
to bits? The crumbs you charted long since gone,
swept off in an ergosphere of snow.
Sudden trees surround us while we sleep.
Waking dark, driving to work
under varying chips of moon.
It's always okay
my love, just my visions
and I bunking up for winter,
the kind of winter people slip on and just lie
where they fall. I’ve read all the fairytales we had,
started dreaming in fairytale—
I’m at the ball, shoes of shattered glass, my compact
mirror trained on everyone’s grim heart.
I’m getting briarcut up, lost
in the forest, food for the forest,
fire for the forest.
The winter everyone got buried
and watched their bodies
drive off to work.
The winter I started wearing makeup.
Nothing says health like a flush,
nothing says blush
like blood, no skin
will hold the warmth within
while icicles sharpen above.
Brianna Flavin is a poet living in St. Paul, Minnesota. She earned her MFA from the University of Virginia and has published work in Waxwing Literary, The Nashville Review, H_NGM_N Literary and others.