I’ve put hope and dreams
Afloat on paper boats.
I’ve paid diamonds
For promises
And wishes.
I put faith in ALL
The wrong places
Looked for love writ
On just,
Any face.

I believed in fairy tales,
So much so,
I jumped for marriages sake.
Promises
Promised
Writ on contracts
Sent adrift
In paper boats
On a grand and splendid lake.

But his heart
Was closed,
Embittered
Even.
That I asked
For a real boat.
It was easy to dream about wishes
And make promises on the wind.

To put all the tiny papers,
Signatures,
And proclamations
In a tiny box
Sealed and unopened
Like the many gifts
Sent back
Before a wedding even happened.

But it was from these
soggy bits of paper
I collected when the paper boats sank,
That I learned
The architecture
The secret
To build and keep
My own boat afloat.

With my own shining heart
At the helm
And my own hope for the sails
The promises
I made
carved in a locket
I gave to myself.

I now wish
fairy tales taught us
To be our own heroes
First.
Paper boats
And whispered promises
It turns out,
Don’t carry much weight.

If we can learn
To love ourselves first,
Not put our hope
In another’s embrace,
Not in his human heart
like mine,
so very flawed.

Maybe we can learn
A new fairy story
One in which
The princess saves
Herself.

-Angel Marie Russell

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