This Is Not a Fairytale

Did they sleep that night? Were they startled when the phone by the bedside rang?

This Is Not a Fairytale

 
Sixteen years ago in northern Michigan, somewhere in the Huron National Forest, a man and a woman from a nearby town pulled over to the shoulder of the road, took their two-year old son, asleep, out of the back seat, walked with him into the woods a mile or so, and set him down.
 
It was still light enough for them to find their way back to their car. God help us, they went home.
 
These people. Drugs were involved, we must suppose. Some kind of profound stupidity made greater with desperation. (Although it isn’t possible to have sympathy for them, one still searches for some explanation.)
 
 
Did they sleep that night? Were they startled when the phone by the bedside rang?
Well, they confessed the whole thing the next day after the child was found walking (“toddling,” the finder called it) along that shoulder of the road. A policeman recognized him from his own child’s daycare center. And he was a “smart little guy. He knew his name.” This much was in the paper.
 
Everything else you have to imagine yourself in order to survive, as he did. In order to survive it you have to imagine it every day. When you lie down to go to sleep, and when you wake. But, in between—
 
In between, your mind is full of trees.
And it’s quite dark despite the moon.
But this summer’s been a warm one.
And someone tied your tiny shoes for you.
 
Laura Kasischke
 

 


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Poem ©2012 Laura Kasischke, all rights reserved. Used by permission of the author and publisher Copper Canyon. Film ©2014 Motionpoems, Inc., all rights reserved.

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