Their land is bigger than you’d suppose.
Like the sea it disappears into the sky,
above the trees, one smudgy line.
First time I went there, the Queen took me,
wanted me to marry her youngest.
He was handsome enough, but
there was something
not quite right about him:
the way he smiled, maybe the way
his nails grew long and blue-tipped
instead of white and pink.
Some people think it’s those big ones
who cause the troubles.
But it’s the little ones, imps, I call them.
They’ll sour the milk and stale up the bread,
leave footprints all over a fresh-iced cake
just for the fun of it.
Now and then I find in my dresser drawers
the handkerchiefs all rearranged. Once
an embroidered one folded like a bedroll.
And then there’s changelings.
Happens all the time.
There’s at least three in this town I know of.
I’ve seen those babies they took
when I’ve been over in their land--
they don’t remember their mothers,
but sometimes, early mornings,
they get a longing look.
They’re mostly happy;
fairies take good care of them.
Back here the mothers
say “Trouble. This baby
is high-strung trouble.”
They wouldn’t believe me if I told.
But those big ones now, on their horses so white
it looks like the moon is out even when it isn’t,
they go about their own business.
‘Course they can be dangerous if you don’t watch out,
but so is anything worthwhile.
As long as you use your head, they’ll do you no harm.
Used to be, folks didn’t talk about them,
or they called them other names.
But if they’re fairies, why not say so?
Truth is truth, and it will out, like they say.
It hasn’t done me any harm I can tell of.