A Fairy Tale Dream

By Kay Sloan

On the fence sits a cat with a cracked eye
staring down from its moony perch, inviting
the dreaming children down a path
strewn with lost earrings left by mothers
fleeing something, not their children, surely,
not their cries as they follow behind. Perhaps
it is the cat with the cracked eye they flee,
as it watches the mothers escape to a black island
surrounded by seas pink as fallen rose petals,
the children paddling tiny boats through
waves rising like thorns from the softness
to a wharf where fishermen love their catch
so much they toss back the rainbow trout,
silver fins glinting like earrings carved
in the shape of a cat beaming through the crack
in its eye at lost children dreaming
as they roam the roads, looking for baubles.

Instead, there are motorcycles, howling
down narrow alleys like wild beasts
needing a quick fix, searching for rabbits
to feast on, a child or two to chew.
They roar down a long road studded
with earrings — left, perhaps, to mark the way
in prized pearls and silver, crescent-shaped
like a shadowy moon on the wane,
or in gold and ruby disks round as fallen suns,
pried up by children in search of rainbows,
in search of mothers who disappear when
their children dream of cats with cracked eyes.
They glimpse their mothers’ skirts vanishing around
corners, the colors streaking like rainbows,
their hair long and loose in the air,
their ears bare to the thundering wind.

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About Kay Sloan

Kay Sloan teaches creative writing at Miami University of Ohio. She's the author of two novels, a poetry chapbook, and several books on American cultural history. More about Kay can be found on her website.

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