“Forget about fairy tales,” she said
as we entered Wolf Hollow.
“They will make you frightened
of the wolves,” she said, as though
we were looking at docile dogs
through two layers of tall fence.
Gracie our youngest, descendant
of the wolves I’m told, is frightened
by the early freedom thunder
of fireworks a couple of blocks away.
She shakes as though she might
wear out her skin from the inside
and lays down on my feet
while I’m trying to write.
“Forget about the fireworks,” I say.
“They are too far away to hurt you.”
She is not convinced and flinches
with every rocket red roar. I can’t
fence out bombs bursting in air.
Fear can look foolish on the face
of another. Incredulity can incite
insensitivity. “Be not afraid,”
we say, like Gabriel to Mary,
an unmarried, pregnant teenager
who hid his words in her heart.
Faith can look foolish, too.
Making believe was hard work
in the face of her fears, both real
and imagined. It looks easy
when we tell the story now
because the angels are long gone.
I can’t forget about fairy tales or fear
anymore than I can stop making
believe. That woman knows her wolves
as well as Mary did her angels.
Gracie and I can only hear the boom
in the distance and wonder what’s next.