Won’t you tell us a story

it doesn’t have to be true -

a train with a tantrum,

a well-behaved phantom -

anything will do.

 

Please tell us a story

pretending you were born

in a land overseen

by five Kings and a Queen

who play cards with a unicorn.

 

Surely you know a story

so long it has no end -

drop us unarmed in danger

to be saved by a stranger

who becomes an exceptional friend.

 

We’ve heard about a story

of a witch with a terrible spell

making children grow old

and paying them in gold

to forget every story you tell.

 

So please, tell us a story -

if you don’t, others will.

And they’ll want us to be

their infantry

when they move in for the kill.

 

Won’t you tell us a story -

it doesn’t have to be true -

we’ll believe what you say

without giving away

that we’ll soon stop believing in you.

 

First published in Dream Catcher 35, July 2017