There is a fairytale I’ll never tell you, the one

where the ground was nothing but a mouth waiting
to suck in the winds that forgot to blow


severed dandelion heads pirouetted in the air
like mothballs shadowing the saucer
of the sun, how it’s beams bubbled the backs
of our necks, they grew gardens of red
that itched and multiplied like weeds


the rings I used to wear fell and clattered
like pennies in a fountain, the children bent down
to fish them from the humming blades of grass


it almost sounded like a
bee body when it rode through
on the well-rings of thought in
the stiff summer air,
but there were no yellow-spangles to see
only little white crossbows,
aerial back-benders that
swam into sight and speech, that bristled above
a body of warning bells and skin cells
all of us listening from below


the wrinkled pages of our eyelids rustled
I sniffed the air for the scent of your hair
and my hand closed around nothing but wisps of sensor fusion


I won’t say that unpeopled jets circled us then
like white eyes in the cotton stalks
acrobats turning up green roots
I hid you beneath your bed and
I wondered whose map we were flashing on,
a red dot jumping from whose pages, whose screen
I cannot explain to you how
I didn’t want us to blink out in a wash of white


how everyone on the island of that red dot
felt to me then like the sapling whose growth
I measure with a yard stick
making climbing marker ticks year by year


they were the straight lined seismograph,
the smooth pebbles that pave our yard
their cries were yours when I cooed you to sleep


everyone looking skyward then was to me

the promise of rain on a bleeding thumb.

LAURA FAIRGRIEVE received her MFA from Adelphi University, where she currently teaches. She is a 2016 recipient of the Poets & Writers Amy Award. Her work has appeared in Underwater New York, Inscape Magazine, Ink in Thirds, The Bitchin' Kitsch, East Coast Ink, and Words Dance Publishing. She lives in Brooklyn. Contact her at