Poems of Place & Displacement

Chez Gretel

If I keep baking the past
and planting crumbs to my door,
will I ever hear your footsteps
stirring the fallen leaves?

My new house is just this way.
The one who owned it is gone.
Some say she was terrible, but that's
legend: she was only my outgrown
self, the young and too-eager girl
I hope you might fondly remember.
The house today is so sweet. Perhaps
you wouldn't care for it? I line
the garden with gingerbread men,
each one carefully iced.
My favorite is downright fatherly,
a little dry, a little cruel. Guess who?

My oven is always burning,
and my brotherly husband,
a kind man grown fat on sweets,
warms my cold kitchen too.

I think you were only a story
I told myself to sleep, a man
with spun-sugar eyelashes,
who kissed me once in jest.
And sometimes,

I think your crooked heart scared you,
leaving me alone in the forest.

Northern Pump Co. Plant, Fridley, Minn.
Credit: FDR Presidential Library

Copyright 2007,  Jennifer Gomoll Popolis

Jennifer Gomoll Popolis is a Chicago native currently living in Springfield, IL. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of journals and magazines, including Madison Review, Sycamore Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, The First Line, and Highlights for Children.

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