Elaine Equi

1953 / Oak Park, Illinois

The Objects in Fairy Tales

are always
the most important
Then as now,
the power to transform
is theirs —
the story
a way of talking through
(and to) us.
Shoes of Fortune,
Magic Beans,
are unlike objects
in magazines
for they awaken
us against our will
from the spell of abject
longing for more.
Only then do we live
happily ever after.

They speak
but not
to everyone,

just those
ready to hear
and endure

what they have to say —

impossible tasks,

shine wrapped around
the seedvoice.

Golden apples
in the grasp of time.

'I'll climb up.'

(we are)
Forever turning

things into thoughts

or caught mid-air
dangling between

the way children
steep their toys
in imagination.

A bird's heart
in him.

Clouds will catch
and carry him off.


But finally, the objects
in fairy tales are words.

Beautiful as any object
we re-call


Gazing down
in the cellar
through the window
to the face,

Then the tall man
made a ring of himself,

trembling like cold,

old skirt
old stockings —

pride and arrogance.

'If you stretch yourself
you'll be there
in a couple of steps.'
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