Tuesday, April 29, 2014
around this primal fire, lit
for the purposes of scorching
sugary fluff pierced on sticks and
held over coals until desired
warmness and browness have been achieved
as part of a curious seasonal ritual:
the sacrifice of marshmallows to
the gods of summer.
Little voices clamored for a tale
insisting only I can tell them well
though they based their opinions of my skill
upon sweet stories told at bedtime—
Fables knit of tiny bunnies separated
from longing rabbit mothers
or more angst-filled, old, and bitter yarns
of dead queens and orphan daughters,
and wicked stepmothers intent on the worst
evil not spelled out for tender ears.
Embers cooled, their warm light fading,
as faintest whispers of smoke
wafted up to heaven like spirits
freed from the maple trees in which
they once were trapped.
Stars emerged above, winking
as little heads nod to and fro
fresh air and sunshine having
broken their grasp on wakefulness.
Adults cuddled the drowsy bodies
of their babes fighting sleep
with sand-gritty eyes, asking for me
to tell the stories which
their wee ones begged me to spin.
I know very few, surely someone else
must know more or better tales
to recount around a campfire,
but they badgered me until I yielded
to their scary story demands.
Very well, I said, I'll thread the one
I know the best, the one about
the woman in white who lives nearby
adored by children for her fabulous myths
spun next to hearths while stirring hearts
to pound more fiercely as flames fly high.
Upon which I poked the fire more firmly
checking mesmerized wide dark eyes
before I gently floated away
into the twilit mist over their heads.
Don't ask me for another story
I murmured, the dew's fall upon
their shocked foreheads, their brows
in their hairlines raised by surprise.
I'm afraid this narrative is a bit
difficult to follow with another better.
Perhaps next summer solstice
you can ask me again,
ply me with burnt sugar offerings
and childish supplication.