Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Once Upon A …
Adele Kenny

Lost in the woods, they feel (as much as see) the way trees darken before the sky. In faded light, they crawl through weeds (poisonous sumac, false strawberry). Lichen and moss stick to their knees. They are not Hansel and Gretel, not brother and sister. They don’t know about witches or metaphor (which, of course, this is), but they understand that the air is colder than it was when they entered the forest. Darkness wells around them and creates new shadows. They feel the prickle of briars and stars—splinter and hiss in the underbrush—something goat-footed behind them. Cold, pale—their lips taste like moonlight. When the witch appears, they will follow her. They will live in the cage. They will eat gingerbread and grow fat. They will both be angry and sad.


Adele Kenny is the author of twenty-three books (poetry & nonfiction) with poems published in journals worldwide, as well as in books and anthologies from Crown, Tuttle, Shambhala, and McGraw-Hill. A former creative writing professor, she is founding director of the Carriage House Poetry Series and poetry editor of Tiferet Journal. Among other awards, she has received two poetry fellowships from the NJ State Arts Council and the 2012 International Book Award for Poetry. She has twice been a featured reader at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and has read in the US, England, Ireland, and France. adelekenny.com

  • Diane

    Wonderful prose poem and reworking of the Hansel & Gretel story. Very ominous, especially the “something
    goat-footed behind them.”

  • The rich imagery and rhythm of this poem build to a delightful crescendo and the resolution resonates with our own emotions.

  • Basil Rouskas

    I like the spookiness of this prose poem. It engages me in the forest where the light gets dimmer and the moon is fighting a losing battle. Besides a H & G reinterpretation, I am suspecting at times that the two characters are lovers and the forest is their relationship (evolving as the night puts its shawls over them.) This poem is one of the new grounds of the craft that Adele has been visiting lately and she feels so natural in her new spaces. She is a docent of the surrealist exhibits of the museum and I am glad I am a participant in her tours. Every new room may turn out to be in a Transylvanian castle with scary residents, long dinner tables and “surprise guests”…

  • Bob Fiorellino

    Great poem with amazing imagery and sound!

  • Alex Pinto

    Trust Adele Kenny to create exactly the right “edgy” atmosphere and the most dazzling imagery in a prose poem!