The Fairy Tale Reader (poem)

Morning light slants through a wood-framed window,
casting black and gold bars on the bedroom floor –
toys and crayons trapped powerless within them.

Slipper-less feet swing from a bench too high.
A long lock of hair caught between ruby red lips,
like a veil of sheer black silk drawn softly across.

A trembling finger traces the ancient type –
“Once upon a time, far, far, far away….”
The pulse quickens for more, more, more.

Of dragons with undulating tails, sulphurous breath.
Of wolves crouching in cold corners with colder eyes.
Of sprites with wands that saturate the sky with stars.

Now, the Prince, arching on his glossy mount.
Now, his Princess, lovelier than golden apples.
And, oh! The dream, the kiss, the frog, the well.

Witches, withered, wild – teeth like rusting rivets.
Fairies hiding in trees, trees that sigh of plots,
plots that weave magical, murderous spells.

Spells that weave and wind through airy castles,
castles with shining turrets reaching for the clouds;
And, oh! The swans, the dwarves, the giants, the mermaids.

A child alone, with glistening eyes and a book;
she is, altogether, a thousand fantastic creatures,
and yet, never more herself than in this moment.

– Jenny Bhatt –