Tall Tales

By F. J. Bergmann in Issue Four, May 2022

Summer came. Each tree
On my street had its own
Scheherazade. My nights
Were a part of their wild

  Charles Simic, “The White Room”

The best place we ever lived
had a really big tree. More than five stories
shadowed the backyard.

At first they were short
and simple: moralistic fables or fairy tales
where the monster or witch queen
gets what’s coming to her.

As we grew, they became more complicated,
but there was always a direction of narrative
flow under the rough bark.

Springtime was trashy romances; summer
was for leaving home, ready to understand
the nature of the quest.

Autumn stories were about investments,
generosity, and preparation for shortened days.
In the fell of winter, the tree spoke
of hidden strength, and hope.

We imagined the root system
like a whole other tree mirrored underground,
relentlessly mining the buried past.

On August nights, we perched in the highest
branches, under the golden apple of the moon.
A million possible endings
rippled in the warm wind.

© 2022 F. J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann is the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change ( and freelances as a copy editor and book designer. She lives in Wisconsin and fantasizes about tragedies on or near exoplanets. She was a Writers of the Future winner. Her work has appeared in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. While lacking academic literary qualifications, she is kind to those so encumbered. She used to work with horses. She thinks imagination can compensate for anything.

Poetry by F. J. Bergmann
  • Tall Tales