Hans Christian Andersen got it wrong,
for when the brat yelled that the emperor was naked,
His parents slapped his face and spanked his butt,
while feigning very forced grins and apologizing profusely.
And the nervous onlookers cheered even louder
to drown out the boy's heresy.
For an emperor always keeps the proper pace;
after all, he is the emperor of the parade.
Hans Christian Andersen got it all wrong, nobody laughed
when the entire kingdom beheld their monarch
parading bare in that regal procession.
They all got naked themselves and jostled one another
to be seen marching in proper stride with his royal majesty
Hans Christian Andersen made a wrong turn,
for they all felt relieved upon seeing his Excellency so exposed,
for now on no man need be abashed for leaving his fly unzipped,
and no woman either, if just her bra betrays her.
Hans Christian Andersen finally got it almost right
for when the little brat yelled that the emperor was without a stitch
they all were in lockstep unity,
the emperor, the spit and polish soldiers,
and the cheering but now hoarse crowd,
the whole empire was so spiffy in their march forward
except the boy whose parade dress uniform is still the naked truth.
Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. A Chapbook of his poems was published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published in many web and print journals such as Boiler Journal, Cordite, Cortland Review, Off Course, Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Adirondack Review, Green Silk Journal, Mississippi Review, Paris/Atlantic, Canadian Dimension, and others.