Poetry

Not a Fairy Tale

Ask me to describe a fanciful episode in which a person chooses to act foolishly
yet her plot ends in positive territory, and nothing comes to mind, only serious reasons
for walking out of a job or a marriage. Can’t I go somewhere silly? Shouldn’t any imagining
be possible? Have I forgotten how (or been stunted) because of vaccine headaches which hit me

yesterday as I walked homeward from Genesee Hill? Or the tiring months of the broken bridge,
the shuttered stores, the virtual friends, the newly-dead relatives, the sad parades of coffins,
those choked, those held still to the ground, all the grounding, all the grinding down? We need
a dose of fluff or laughter at our struggling, maybe a story about a magic bird who delivers

a rusty key on a dirty string to a child down a dry well who sees a slot where it fits and turns it
and the wall is really a door through which pours a delicate light—never blinding—
like the effect of sun reaching the mossy floor of a forest through shifting spaces between
branches and leaves, the kinds of trees where small creatures craft their twig-lichen nests

and raise broods of bright-eyed and soft-furred young, and the child scampers into this safety
to kneel by a clean brook where, from a scooping hand, the child drinks and drinks and drinks.
Thirst slaked, the child looks about in wonder at the solid tall trunks, up to the tops of the alder
and hemlock, and down at the damp earth. This might be home. This is the right planet.

This could be the place to stay.

Pamela Hobart Carter loves Seattle as much for its water and mountains as for its bustle and creativity. She explores the Emerald City daily while walking her dog. Carter used to be a teacher who wrote on the side. Now she is a writer who teaches on the side.