7 am: Guns N’Roses wake Hansel up. Gretel comes downstairs with two pomegranates. Split one open, perse tears. One to share, one for tomorrow.
8 am: Up to the part that goesWhere do we go now, where do we go now sweet child o’ mine. Pomegranates taste gory, next week they’d have been sweet. Money’s tight like a rope that you pull taut and your arms burn. Their father cuts wood, their mother does most things by accident. She doesn’t like children, says once she dropped a baby and thinks of it whenever she hears side four of the White Album.
9 am: Gretel asks: are Hansel’s god poems about her? No, well, I don’t think so.
10 am: I was just wondering she says. Hansel laughs like he’s praying loudly. Thula, thula.
11 am: In the school library, Woody tells Gretel to pick a room under 200 dollars. She picks the large print, nonfiction.
Noon: Woody says I meant for the night. Gretel picks this hotel (Woody nods, drops off credit card) facing Rockefeller Center called the Jewel.
1 pm: Once Gretel said she would donate her organs to her brother. This world needs you more than it needs me, she had said.
2 pm: Mrs. Whale is the French widow next door. Has a pet wolf with forty tenement-teeth.
3 pm: Archaeological findings from the ancient city-states of Sumer have revealed temple rooms full of clay tablets in cuneiform scripts. These archives were made up almost completely of the records of commercial transactions or inventories, with only a few documents devoted to theological matters, historical records or legends. – New World Encyclopedia, 2008
4 pm: Hansel doesn’t want to trick-or-treat at Ms. Whale’s house. Gretel says Ms. Whale gives out gingerbread cupcakes/milkshakes/rice krispie treats dipped in melted Cadbury Eggs/mix it up/down in one swallow/feels better than sex/drugs/skiing or driving fast with\\out windows down.
5 pm: Gretel and Woody leave for the Jewel Facing Rockefeller Center. This time no costume: Gretel’s just Gretel.
6 pm: Hansel’s scared, back in the library dressed as (nobody will see his costume) Snoopy. Weep turpitude, streaking melt in periodicals. He opens his planner and writes on his birth date,
Happy birthday, from someone who cares deeply about you.
7 pm: Library is for those who can’t afford the books, maintained by institution/corporation.
8 pm: Gretel calls: the Jewel Facing Rockefeller Center a.) smells too much like other people b.) Woody’s making her do things just her body couchant on the bed but real Gretel’s in the corner of room aa.) thinking of Hansel bb.) reading a book on architecture.
9 pm: Shh this is the
10 pm: whisper zone
11 pm: All winter in the back of Hansel’s throat, where swallows rot. Finds a pomegranate seed in his pocket. Places it under his tongue, tears from sour buds.
Midnight: Hansel starts to write another god poem. He died, he writes. Will never get tired of writing he died he died he died he died.
6 am: Hansel goes door-to-door for these reasons: Have You Seen My Sister, Gretel? She has black hair and eyes flint like moths. She’s always warm like there’s a blue-red furnace in her belly.
Gretel Notices the Whale is a Witch
Gretel Notices the Whale Has a Kitchen that Has Not Been Remodeled Since the 70’s.
On B day Gretel eats banana bread/blueberry rolls/
bleached blondies/egg boats
in the broken part of the house. The Whale twirls
around stopping the world with her pointer,
Shall we have Turkish baba ganoush/
Italian biscotti/burnt toast?
Gretel smells wolf in the Whale’s hair as she counts the days till she’s free on her fingers. On the fridge there are magnets of the children who died of too much fun the Whale explains. But Gretel’s
no fool. Things go down like a pianissimo in her, her body feels
too animal and not enough machine, her throat flaking off
and the room is a fluted boat, a vague sheet
being quilted, seams waning inward
like ribs, but Eat up you’re a growing
girl the Whale says with
spiced breath It’s a
—Christine Reilly, New York, NY