FNS: Fairy Tale from David Wright

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Every Friday night we will feature a short story, essay, personal narrative,
poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Helen Presents: a poem from David Wright


You are singing “Stardust”
like you’re Ella Fitzgerald,

and I am singing “Stardust”
dead on as Willie Nelson.

Together we have filled
our bedroom with enough

dust to set off your asthma,
though I think you’re scatting

when you cough, syncopated
clatter that sounds

like the earliest records
of the tune, instrumental

and pure before a single
lyric had been written.

So I become Willie’s smooth,
inspired whine

eyes closed, imagined bandana
tight across my forehead,

and you nearly die from the reverie,
the memory of the time

you nearly died running home
from school, a boy chasing you.

Here I am, crooning away,
while that boy and Hoagy

strangle you with a few changes
and a pulverized star.

I finish my refrain in time
enough to notice

your clutching throat.
We catch your breath,

together, in the near-night
of dusk, trying to recall

the consolation of voices.


David Wright teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College (Illinois). His poems have appeared in Image, Ecotone, Poetry East, and Artful Dodge, among many others. In 2003, he was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for poetry. His most recent poetry collection is The Small Books of Bach (Wipf & Stock, 2014). His poem Like a Lament, but not Really Blue is featured in our music issue.

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