On Reading Fantasy

I have left the wild woods many times,
climbed the foothills
of the Mountains of Literature,
stood on dark ice
staring up at a moonless sky
while all around me stretched
the Empire of Science Fiction.

But however far I go,
however often I remember
my father's warning
that nothing real
lies in these woods,
I return.

To the west, the trees reach ocean
and sparrowhawks circle on the wind.

I have met other travelers
searching for dragons
or the names of things
or their own true self.
One asked me why I was here,
but I had no answer,
only that part of me fades
on the stone streets
of the City of Biography,
or on the shifting sands
of the Desert of Reference,
or anywhere else
but here.

(First published in Star*Line)