[Look at old Gretel]

Look at old Gretel
asleep in the woods.
She’s made a nest
of bread crumbs and
white pebbles and leaves
but she’s still lost,
now in the late middle
of her life. She tripped
she coughed, and then
lay down in the middle
of all the signs and clues
and fell asleep. It could be
she knows the witch
is by Disney and that
the stepmother has
been taken away in
locked van by welfare
long ago, that Dad in
the Whispering Oaks
Senior Center sings
Where have all the flowers
gone? in a reedy voice
(she can almost hear), but
still she can’t wake up
from this lovely long
sleep in the woods.


Faith Williams was most recently a children’s librarian in a DC charter school, and for years taught English. She has published poems in The Mom Egg, Poet Lore, Nimrod International, Sow’s Ear, Earth’s Daughters, and Calyx, among others.