Once Upon a Time

by Deborah H. Doolittle

She began and we knew it
was a fairy tale, and that
before the happy ending,
the story would be far from
happy. Sad, in fact, maybe
even horrifying. It’s
not like we hadn’t heard it
before. That tiresome rake
pulled over burnt out embers,
the fire being stroked to
a new kind of heat. Why not
bicycle? More movement,
less chance of getting stuck in
a place that never changed, time
was never accurate, not
fine-tuned, not precision made.
One thing happened, then the next.
Why not once upon a dime?
I’ve seen a trick rider turn
his bike in such a way that
he has reinvented his
story, that jack be nimble,
sailing over the Swami’s
bed of broiling coals, who plucked
that charbroiled plum and rode off
to those ash heaps we called hills.


Deborah H. Doolittle has lived in lots of different places but now calls North Carolina home. She is the author of No Crazy Notions, That Echo, and Floribunda, with some of her poems appearing more recently in Mudfish, Pinyon, Sow’s Ear Review, Thema, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and Wild Violet. She shares a home with her husband, three cats, and a backyard full of birds. 

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