Fairy Godmother Clauses
By David Thornbrugh


Too many good stories choke

on fairy godmother clauses:

true love requires courage.

What if two cowards fall in love?

Doesn’t clutching someone out of fear

count as passion?

Love conquers all.

Not every penetration

is an invasion,

and not every no is a negative.

Fairy godmother clauses

require true love to overcome

obstacles, leap hurdles,

spin straw into gold.

A prince has to know how to dance,

fence, write a sonnet

and conduct diplomacy in three languages,

as well as be able to conduct a siege

against resistant populations.

Maturity is a kind of tender surrender

to the tides as you sit

in a docked boat rocking slowly

and savoring the salt stench of memory.

I once carried a lover around the room

pegged on my heat.

Now, she is dead,

freed of the fairy godmother clause

we grappled under,

staggering around the ballroom

of our colliding fantasies

like drunk mice scattering the marriage rice

you’re no longer supposed to throw

because it swells in the bellies of birds

stupid enough to swallow

fairy godmother clauses

and the happy endings they promise.