This poem came out of the May 3, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. It was selected in the generally sponsored poetry poll. It was inspired by a prompt from haikujaguar who related an anecdote about a transgender person using the changeling myth to retell their own story. This is the heart of all storytelling, the power inherent in myths and folk tales -- it lets us turn our own experiences into stories, making them easier to remember, to deal with, to incorporate into our lives. Think about the stories you tell of your own life, and the family stories you pass down. Then read this one, with its dual levels of meaning, the faerie and the transgender...
Father, I know
you raised a daughter,
but she was never me.
She was a changeling child
that the fairies left in my place.
I'm sorry it took so long
for me to find a way
to banish her back Underhill
with the magic of steel knives
and a brewing far more complex
than any eggshells.
Father, I am here now,
the son you always wanted.
Let me sit at your knee
and learn the things
that men teach to boys.
If my face is still halfway
between handsome and beautiful,
if my voice sounds a bit fey,
if I seem not quite real --
it is only because I was raised on
fairy wine and clover honey
and the silver apples of the moon.
Give it time. The mortal world
will remember how to hold me.
Father, I only want
to belong, to find the place
that should have been mine from birth.
Only give me the key to your heart
and I will be content.
Let the Fair Folk have their daughter back,
who dances in her pink dress
and laughs behind her lily hand.
Let me have the axe and the woodpile
and a shirt of good blue flannel.
I've made the long journey home.
It's up to you now to open the door
on our happily ever after.