Hansel and Gretel, *** (English is), Moje Boye, Like a Movie, A Line in the Sand

Published in / Opublikowane w: Red Fern Review

Date of publication / Data publikacji: March, 2022


In my grandma’s version the witch fed Jaś-Hansel and Małgosia-Gretel chunks of chocolate-like product. That’s what we had instead of chocolate in the eighties. She also gave them some sugary oranżada, the one of explosive tendencies. Her house was not made of gingerbread but simple herbatniki biscuits, and was equipped with a small electric oven. She drove a straight-lined Fiat and smoked Mocne cigarettes.

But the woods she lived in were the same as always.


English is a
series of tracks,
series of traps.
Tricking. Me into tripping.

(S)mothering silence.


I didn’t dress up as a boy.

I dressed up as a pirate,
as an interwar dandy
in my Grandfather’s hat and waistcoat,
with a long scarf turned into a tie.

Sometimes I wore a peasant’s shirt,
a baker’s white coat or
a prisoner’s stripes
(I even made a papier mâché ball and chain).

I never dressed up as a princess,
a housewife,
or a whore.


A few dates, then his place, eventually. My gut was sending yellow flares of warning. I didn’t listen. I looked up when in bed. His friend was there, with a camera, filming us. Flight instinct took over. I quickly mapped my things: my bag, clothes, shoes, coat. I was out the door before they realised. I’ve never run so fast. Through the night, looking for a bus stop or tube station, my pocket vibrating heavily with his calls. These were followed with

The police said to change the number. The police were not interested in names, addresses. The police didn’t care that they were both psychologists, working for the local council.

Family holidays, a safe cocoon.
Sun is bright, sand whistles whitely,
water hums with salty blue.

In my family we go for walks along the beach.

I go for a walk along the beach
with my girlfriend.
We hold hands.

Like honey for bees we attract looks.
Nothing more, just looks.

Like rotting meat for flies.

Initial defiance and pride
quickly sour into something stifling.
That’s the taste of fear.

A man gets up from his beach towel and starts following us.

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