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Michael Minassian
Hansel's Song

I am waiting for my next meal,

stuffed birds, thick crusted bread

and moldy cheese

the old woman insists

my sister brings to me

although she is forbidden to touch

a single morsel or dropped crumb.


She must whistle the whole way

between the fire pit and my cage

that hangs from the tree on the hill

near the winter lodge.


Every third day the old woman

hobbles along the narrow path;

nearly blind, she taps her cane

against packed earth and stone

to stand with her face

pressed against the wooden

bars of my cage, her stinking breath

reaches me before the single word

she speaks: finger.


Instead, I hold out the bone

my sister left behind

for the old woman to stroke

before she turns away

muttering to herself.


In the lodge, my sister waits,

hiding wild onions and herbs

to garnish the stew

we will make of you, grandmother,

when she stabs your eyes,

and I climb from this filthy cage,

to shove you into the waiting pot.

and stoke the fire,

singing our song

to the motherless sky.



MICHAEL MINASSIAN is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His poetry collections Time is Not a River, Morning Calm, and A Matter of Timing as well as a new chapbook, Jack Pays a Visit, are all available on Amazon. For more information:

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