The spider has devoured every curd
and Muffet’s started fading fast away.
Rudolph’s requisitioned to the herd,
and Chicken Little’s left with too little left to say.
The wind once in the willows has stopped blowing.
The Phantom Tollbooth’s toll is way too high.
Naughty puppets’ noses have stopped growing,
and Chicken Little’s stopped even searching for the sky.
The Cheshire Cat has lost the Cheshire smile,
and Puss-in-Boots goes barefoot as a pup.
Hare now beats out Tortoise by a mile,
and Chicken Little looks like he isn’t looking up.
The little lamb will not be seen with Mary.
The fox is sick and tired of the stork.
Cockle shells have rowed with Ms. Contrary,
and all three little pigs have been cured and sold as pork,
while all that’s left of Little’s turned to tenders.
Our wing-eared Dumbo has nowhere to fly:
Sky itself has fallen, like the embers
of all the glistening towers that towered in the sky.
James B. Nicola’s poems have appeared in the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and Barrow Street. His seven full-length collections (2014-22) are Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page, Wind in the Cave, Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists, Quickening, Fires of Heaven, and Turns & Twists. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. He has received a Dana Literary Award, two Willow Review awards, Storyteller’s People’s Choice award, one Best of Net, one Rhysling, and ten Pushcart nominations—for which he feels both stunned and grateful. A graduate of Yale, he hosts the Hell’s Kitchen International Writers’ Round Table at his library branch in Manhattan: walk-ins welcome.