Gingerbread Man by Eric Marin

My cousins’ cousin stopped by my house for tea today, and I said, “Hi, Gretel. It’s great to see you, but I don’t have any tea.” She shrugged her narrow shoulders and said, “That’s okay, I really just came to steal a kiss and make some gingerbread.” I started to tell her we didn’t have any gingerbread, but she just laughed and said, “Not a problem” and then leaned over the cold granite counter and kissed my open mouth with hers. “Stop. Gretel,” I said around her busy tongue, “You’re. Married. I’m. Married.” But she just laughed down my throat and kissed me until she decided she’d had enough, then patted my cheek and said, “Go get in the oven, Sweetie,” and I did, even though it was a tight squeeze. She closed the door and yelled through the glass, all smiles, “Thanks! You’re a good kisser. I’m sure you’ll make a great gingerbread man for the witch.” I asked her why she was baking me, and she said with a flitting shadow of pain in her brown eyes, “My debt must be paid. And it won’t be by me.” And I wondered how long Gretel had set the oven to bake, as I smelled the scent of gas and felt my skin warm, and then I started calculating the odds on whether the witch would eat me all at once, a little at a time, or if she’d just use me for spackling on her cottage in the forest. I decided it would be better just to howl. So I did.

Eric Marin is a husband, father, and attorney who lives Central Texas. As a teen, Eric lived on a home-built sailboat in the Caribbean and spent a lot of time fishing with a pole-spear to supplement his family’s diet. That experience has left him with a slightly off-angled view of life, which carries over to his poetry.

IMAGE:Hansel and Gretel, Carl Offterdinger, 19th c.