Postcards from Malthusia DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Jane Burn

Welcome to the Land of Far, Far Away

My cottage smells of gingerbread. Gingerbread is now the smell of fear.

Hansel and Gretel cringe on quickly past like PLAGUE is daubed

above my door. I lift my finger to and tap on the divisive pane of glass,

wave through the window. I wish I could tempt them in for spells


of good brown tea stirred in cauldron mugs. I wouldn’t even

eat them now, for the sake of some conversation, for holding them tight,

gorging instead on their human warmth. Everyone is afraid of incantations,

carried upon a poisoned cloud of breath. They carry on past, eye me


like a suspect while my biscuit balances on the saucer’s rim, looking

for the world like the sole of an elf’s lost shoe. I’m fooling

myself into thinking I’m eating only one. I’m going to eat another three

and worry my guts with getting way too fat or running out. I should be


cherishing every crumb. I had a great line in cackling and the only thing

folk were afraid of round here was me. Already, I miss that.


Jane Burn‘s poems and stories have been published in a wide variety of magazines such as The Rialto, Butcher’s Dog and Under the Radar and many anthologies. She has been nominated for the Forward and Pushcart Prize. Her latest poetry collection Yan, Tan, Tether is available from Indigo Dreams. She is an associate editor at Culture Matters Press.

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