some fictions are true, she says,
with a grin like a magician. not all of them,
she says, but some are. for example,
she says, pointing to a wolf wearing
the clothes of an old lady, asleep in a single bed,
for example, she says, this is true. also this,
she says, drawing my attention to
a young man leaning over a sleeping girl,
kissing her, softly waking her. that is also true,
she says. and of course this, she says, gesturing
to a girl in a beautiful ball-gown, big watery eyes
fixed on the second hand of a clock, skirts
bunched anxiously in her hands. of course
that one is true, she says, with a wry laugh.
what about – but she cuts me off,
laughing, no, no. that one is all made up.
and the one about the long hair, that’s
all lies too. it’s the one’s you don’t expect. i mean
this one, she says, climbing up a few steps
so we can see, far off, a knight in shining armour,
his steed peacefully nibbling grass
in dappled sunlight, this is half true. and this,
she says, waving her arm towards a couple
asleep under a sheet, bodies locked together
like held hands, this is true. she shows me
a woman quietly crying to herself
on a sidewalk in gentle rain, this is true.
she shows me a child lost
in a supermarket, this too is true.
she shows me a man walking
away without looking back, his face
all taut like cling wrap, this is true. i nod.
a group of teenagers jump off a cliff
and in to the ocean, screaming wildly,
thin like streamers, this is true.
i nod. a photograph of someone’s parents,
younger, more in love, i nod,
a woman waiting at the traffic lights, her eyes closed,
i nod, a body caught before it hits the ground, i nod,
a man with his palms and forehead pressed
to a concrete wall, breathing, i nod, i nod,
this is true, this is true, this is true.