It has come to my attention
that people like me
are generally not welcome in fairy tales.
It's the talking birds that do it.
The minute a sparrow shows up to pipe a direful warning
it's all over
down at the first hurdle
The body in the fifty-fathom well
will have to wait
the old woman turned into a hare
the murdered mother in the juniper tree
as I whip out my Sibley guide and look for the entry
with the fieldmark labeled capable of human speech.
For this crime
I have been accused of a failure of wonder
of having chained up my inner child and sent her
to work in the salt mines.
But the truth
(if you really want to know)
is that I have read too many fairy tales
and lived a bit too long
to be surprised by anything that happens in
the cottages of lonely woodcutters.
I can even venture a guess
to why the bear speaks with the voice of a maiden
(my heart goes out to her)
and why, when the animal has saved your life,
you will be required to make a harp out of its bones.
These are o