GRIM FAIRY TALE

I tell my daughter

if a boy who’ll never be a man named Peter Pan

ever comes to your windowsill and knocks

and asks for your hand

to fly you off to Neverland

 

go

 

you don’t even have to leave a note

just float

away

because tomorrowland

will never be better than today

 

Life is a grim fairy tale

and she makes me make believe

 

we build castles and towers

out of invisible pigs and chickens

she paints bathtub walls

like she’s the next Picasso, Dali or two eared Van Gogh

she believes mermaids swim with her

that dragons compete with airplanes for runways

that unicorns put the holes in Swiss cheese

and we hide from wolves under blankets of wool

and I make believe I can be here

forever

 

that parents can stay together

 

that every snail you step on

has it’s own separate snail heaven

and the sorrow of angels makes rainy weather

she dances in her red ruby slippers

and says,

DADDY! THERE’S SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW!

when science tells us it’s only a prism of refracted light

I say darling don’t be afraid of the dark

because on the other side of earth

fairies wings are fluttering in the opening dawn light

the sun will always come out tomorrow

and Barbie will always get a date

the White Rabbit will always needs a late pass

and every mirror you see is a looking glass

so hold onto your fantasies

like Frodo clutched onto his ring

because the never-ending story will end someday

 

and she makes me make believe

 

that a kiss will wake up any princess

when her mother

is a sleeping beauty I’ll never wake up next to again

 

that death

isn’t the only happy end

 

so she teaches me to MAKE IT ALL UP

because no matter how many nightmares the boogieman can give you

you can never dream enough

 

just turn on the night lights, don’t let the bed bugs bite

eat every apple every snake offers you

with rosary red lips red as Snow White’s

dance with every Prince Charming you meet

because Cinderella never knows

when it’s gonna hit midnight

and I make believe I have all the time in the world

for this little girl

 

and she sits and talks to her imaginary friends

who I tell her are unlike any other

cuz they last longer in the end

the rest just have COOTIES

and unless you have a force field,

you’re as good as dead

and my daughter can shoot me with a pen

and balloon dogs still need to be fed

and she’s gonna make me believe in Santa Claus again

I’m gonna cook up the eggs of the Easter Bunny

knock out my front teeth

cuz if I put them under my pillow

the Tooth Fairy will hook me up

with some CASH MONEY!

and Willie Wonka Golden tickets

and a map that tells me how to get to Sesame Street

when we fly Pegasus just you and I

I’ll take you with me

 

but your Daddy still lives in a world of fantasy

and you’re my ivory key to the secret garden

where we have tea parties with the Mad Hatter

 

and if you ever fall down a rabbit hole

you don’t have to call home

unless I can follow you down

 

every little girl is a princess already

they don’t need to be bought crowns

she makes me make believe

that she was a queen since birth

I as her father figure

enfold her in my arms

to defend her like calibered and cocked arms

against Mother Earth

 

Life may be a grim fairy tale

but she makes me make believe

 

to never let reality

tell you

what your imagination

is worth.