Our Brave Little Champion awakens late one night
from a dreamworld he can’t quite remember.
It had something to do with a treasure found in libraries;
like a twenty dollar bill bookmark
buried in the pages of a returned paperback.
Perhaps, the templar thinks,
he should just go back to sleep,
to the magic world of reading,
but his bladder tells him otherwise.
On the way back from the bathroom,
our knight’s stomach becomes sidetracked
on a path toward the kitchen.
It is still too early for breakfast,
but no one would argue that a midnight snack
needs to happen precisely
when the clock strikes twelve.
As he helps himself to a massive PB&J,
hold the J,
he hears the far away sound of footsteps
coming down to meet him.
Quick as a whip crack,
our protagonist makes tracks
to a stack of pillows lying
in the back of the dining room.
Some people have fire extinguishers,
the knight has a pillow procedure.
Enacting emergency protocol 17B
(for when an intruder enters the premises),
he assembles a feathery fort in as much time
as it takes to play rock, paper, scissors.
Breathing heavily, our hero waits
for the army of Sauron to attack.
But while concentrating so heavily
on imaginary orcs,
he cannot hear the footsteps
that creep quietly into his fort.
His enemy underestimates him,
and instead of dispatching the knight quickly,
she places a hand on his shoulder,
and soon finds herself with a
sweat-soaked soggy sandwich
pointed directly at her throat.
When our hero realizes that she is no threat to him,
he warns, “Jeez mom, why did you have to go
and scare me like that?
Don’t you know there’s an army of bad guys
just waiting to attack us?”
The brave boy’s caretaker doesn’t say a word.
Instead, she takes his palm in her hand and
pretends to read in it
his past, present and life to come.
Really, she makes up a future that takes shape
in the way that constellations do:
that is to say, throwing spent
raisins at the wall and tracing what sticks.
But she’s mostly right.
“You used to walk around with shoeboxes tied to your feet
so you would seem taller.
Honestly, it made you look the same size,
just with shoeboxes tied to your feet.
“There are monsters that only you can see with superhero vision,
and we love that you protect the rest of our family from them.
It’s also 3:00 am, so maybe next time you could fight a little more softly?
“You’ll become a great man who will feed people’s spirits
with cardboard swords and friends made of fallen tree branches.”
assembled from all the eight-ball
possibilities smashed and spun together,
make a web of silky words
that soon cradles the Brave Young Knight