Filler cover for Forgive Me

Sometimes I take fairytales and poetry and life—and death and headless ghosts—too seriously.

Maybe you do, too. Consider this book as serious medicine, like malaria medicine.

Alert! Warning! Despite the age label (age six to nine) on the flap, this book is not meant for six-year olds, who are unlikely to get the jokes, who may spend serious time huddled under the bed after exposure. I wrote it for children whose senses of humor have ripened to the proper unpleasant level, probably by about nine or ten, younger for diabolical prodigies. And it should be perfectly appreciated from nine or ten and on up to second childhood.

The poems come from William Carlos Williams's deceptively simple false apology poem, "This Is Just to Say," which poets have been improvising on for decades to amuse themselves and other adults. But I don't think grownups should have all the fun, so I started inventing false apology poems for kids.

It's simple. Step one: Imagine something awful happening to someone who is definitely not you. Step two: Picture the villain who is responsible for the awful thing that happened to someone who is definitely not you. Step three: Dream up a villainous explanation that the villain might give for his or her dastardly act. Last step: Follow William Carlos Williams's form to write the result. You've done it! Congratulations!