Mom, he says, Tell me a story.
He wants to hear about Squiggle
the caterpillar who lives beneath
the wise flower, Esperanza. He wants
trap stories, lost train stories, stories
of crashes and races, deep sea diving
and submarines shaped like sharks.
And I want to tell him stories about
forgiveness. Stories about compassion.
Stories in which everyone wins.
I want to tell him how each of us has a story
we tell ourselves about who we are,
and how sometimes the story needs to change.
I want to tell him there is no once upon a time,
the time is now, which is also then.
I want to tell him The End
is never the end. And that the story
is his for the telling. I want to tell him
he really will live happily ever after,
although it won’t look like the picture books—
in fact, I don’t know what it looks like.
I want to tell him a story in which everyone
falls in love. And everyone listens to the other
person’s story and hears their own. In the meantime,
I begin the tale as I always do, Once upon a time,
there was a caterpillar named Squiggle
who lived in a sixteen-acre wood …