Before I nodded off to sleep at night
Mama would tell me a fairy tale —
The princess meets her dear prince…
“And then what next, Ma?’
A finger to her lips, she’d smile
“I’ll let you read the book tomorrow.”
When the sun came up
She’d point to the upstairs attic.
There, I sat on a dusty wooden floor —
The prince dances with his princess
to the sound of ten drums, violins,
trumpets, and lyres…
Downstairs, Ma and Pa danced
to the beat of angry voices, cries,
slamming doors, breaking china.
The royal couple now happily wed
Had a bonny daughter in the end…
Clambering down the stairs, I went
“They loved their princess, Ma!”
Pa slapped me very hard
“You and your fairy tales!”
Perhaps I had read the story wrong.
Many nights after,
I would tell myself another fairy tale
of a princess with a broken heart
crying silently in front of the mirror.
My story book went back in the attic, now
Covered in cobwebs, dust,
dried tears, and ghostly laughter—
Ma, you knew it would end that way,