Gretel’s Tale by Kay Buckley

Gretel’s Tale

I get that food dead feeling
and the plastic cold pocket opens.

I try to find the breaded path as my tongue
scratches across gritted greased lips.

Feeding my sliced thoughts and breaking
the shape of my body I remember:

how she stirred the earth’s chocolate richness,
how she spooned clouds into choux swans.

Body born, body proud and warming in the sun
she ladled caramel to set her biscuit bricks.

She fed me in food and love.
She ate me anew in joy and hope.

Every day I went to Hansel in his cage,
as her rounded hips danced around the copse.

He called her; “she, the other, and anti-mother.”
What else could I do? What else could I say?

After all what are little girls made of?
I was sugar and spice – a good girl, nice.

I followed the mould.
I wanted a man so I killed the bitch.

Fashion took its victim and beauty snared his chains.
Always the eternal feminine should hate the fat witch.

My cage was built on high heels and diet meals,
with candyfloss nails and legs like rails.

I became good enough for a man to eat.
So he ate me, he hated me and then I hated me.

Until I broke the scale and his image.
I rescued the apple from Eve’s guilt

and spoke not sin or greed, but Gretel’s Tale.


Kay Buckley lives in Barnsley. She was overall winner of the 2014 York Mix poetry competition. Her poems have been published in magazines such as Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog, Brittle Star and Proletarian Poetry as well as included in anthologies by Paper Swans Press, Pankhearst Press and The Emma Press.

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