Once upon a time there was a little poem.
It wasn’t a story and it wasn’t a song. But it could be. The poem thought and knew it could be both. It sat on a sofa of gerunds, awash in cushiony possibility. It sipped a hot tea of nouns and verbs, with a dash of adjectival. A plate of prepositions sat at its elbow. Just in case. In the event of. Objects. Place names. Time.
The poem frightened the neighbors who looked through the window of its house that wasn’t exactly a house and pointed at this unfamiliar inhabitant. They couldn’t identify the poem according to their usual parameters. Human/not human, masculine/feminine, fiction/nonfiction. So they called the police.
“What ARE you?” the police officer said to the poem as she leaned on the doorjamb and squinted at the gerunds. They looked flamey, so she phoned the fire department. The firefighters arrived with the big red truck, which is nice looking if you aren’t worrying about an emergency. They said right away that they understood the poem. They explained to the police officer that gerunds were just sort of verbs. The police officer put her hat back on, and went home to study Strunk and White. The firefighters came in and sat on the sofa and spoke with the poem about being on alert, and the poem listened. When the truck left, the poem went outside and stood at the intersection of Genre and Veracity. And sang a song of red and blue.
And spun a tale about you.