All stories must come to an end.
In the last evening of the year, bareheaded
and with naked feet, red and blue from cold,
the toys, offspring to a tin spoon, play
at fighting battles and hosting balls, plunder the tree.
Two carriages roll by dreadfully fast.
The children fall down and form a long trail of fire.
The soldier, in the smartest red and blue uniform imaginable,
falls head foremost, his bayonet fixed between two paving stones.
He does not think it proper to shout when he is in uniform.
The little dancer flutters like a sylph
straight to the fire, to the soldier:
“Do you know where those trees were taken? Did you meet them?”
Her father will beat her if she returns without a farthing.
They leave the soldier to shed tears of tin.
It is terrible lonely here: Paper castle, paper boat
dancing up and down. What waves there are in the gutter,
and what a current! The roast goose hops down from the dish
with a knife and fork in its breast
and then the light goes out.
This is a found poem from Hans Christian Andersen tales, stories that had a profound impact on me as a child, and I believe were material in teaching me empathy. The poem is a missive for deceived, abused Trump voters and the empty promise, the fairytale, of his vision.
Miriam C. Jacobs is a University of Chicago alumna and teaches English at Gordon State College. Jacobs’s work has won an Atlanta Review International Publications Award and placed in Poetica Magazine’s Anna David Rosenberg competition, in both 2017 and 2018.
Photo from the White House.