Fairy tales

I admit it
I am jealous of his little girls
jealous beyond words at the love
he sprinkles upon them so casually
like pixie dust or flower petals

I have no memory of such magic
in my childhood
only the scholarly praise from teachers
of my perfect penmanship
or perfect attendance
or perfectly constructed essays

but I would trade all the accolades
for eight perfect letters
two spaces and –
if it’s not asking too much –
an exclamation point
denoting great emotion

what does it cost after all
to say I love you
is there a limited supply of loving words
that we must ration
like nylons or sugar or chocolate
during wartime

no – I am certain there is
an inexhaustible supply of love
in each of us
but some do not believe it
they secret away
handfuls of flower petals

and will not share
with friend or enemy
or offer even a single rose petal
to their daughter
who would be happy at this point
to receive the wilting stems

I am almost past believing
that flowers exist
and, hey, I’m pretty sure
Disney sells that pixie dust
in snow globes
fairy tales are just stories –
lies to make us buy the t-shirt

for many years
I thought nothing
of the absence of love
but then I saw friends raising
princesses and cowboys with
words of love and kind hands
and warm hugs

I am scared that my inheritance
is a coldness
that my marriage failed
because I could not feel
that I was hoarding my love
afraid to share
just like them

and I am angry, vengeful
asking how and why and
would it have been better
if they hit me
how could they withhold something
more essential
than bread and water

and I swear
if once upon a time
I had a little girl of my own
I would tell her every day
how much I loved her
and I would sprinkle
buckets of pixie dust
upon her head

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