Fairy Tales Gone Awry

Fairy Tales Gone Awry

By Elizabeth Harper

Disembodied photographs, disentangled lies
enumerating my descent, diagramming my surprise.

From what I was supposed to have been
to the unknown destination of an interminable train ride.

The letters keep coming; the signs pass by.
My window is a mirror; my fellow travelers lie:

Let us entertain you with stories
untrue and old
of miserly dentists
and toothless old maids
hoarding gold, while you,
once a luscious plump fruit
fresh plucked with golden hair,
shrivel and grow mold.

Never trust a prince. Never kiss a frog.
You think you are a princess, but really
you are a grotesque old warthog.

I see the shiny skyscrapers.
Sexy steel cuts the sky.
I see the subdivided farmland.
I see the hungry mean eyes of children.
I hear them fight and cry.

The records playing in my head are too old.
The words rhyme but can't keep time
with this train disintegrating on the track.

Disemboweled believers, legends in their own times
are crumpled like old newspapers
stuffed into the fire, fuel for new crimes.

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