There’s a dragon in the back room
on the third floor
by the stairway.
His skin is brown and scaly
and his eyes are green and cold.
I sit at the top of the staircase,
and watch him through the crack
between door and wall.
He knows I’m watching.
I bet that’s why he only breathes fire
when I’m not looking.
But I’ve caught him blowing
dragon smoke rings
between sharp yellow teeth.
I wonder if he ate Molly.
I left her in the hallway closet
when we played hide and seek.
Then I went to dinner,
and when I came back on Saturday
she was gone.
She’d lost a button eye,
and her dress was a little ragged,
but he didn’t have to eat her.
Tomorrow’s the dragon’s birthday,
and they’ll drag him from the back room.
Drag him down the staircase
and into the kitchen.
He must be at least five hundred,
and I don’t know how we’ll fit so many candles
on the cake.
Although if we do, maybe I can watch him light them.
That might even be worth
being brave enough
to kiss the dragon on the cheek,
(instead of stabbing him with a sword
which I don’t have),
and pretend that he’s my grandpa.
December 9, 1992