Ours is a world in which fables are uncomfortable inhabitants. Craig Morgan Teicher, the 2007 Colorado Prize-winning poet for "Brenda Is in the Room and Other Poems," knows this. He knows we are unlikely to fall for (or follow) some pithy statement about how we ought to live our lives. Instead, in "Cradle Book," he leaves the reader, usually in some charged darkness, wondering what to do, where to go. His fables, like his poems (born of this beautiful, ambiguous and often downright confusing world), promise not answers but gorgeous articulations of the questions.

Teicher begins "Cradle Book" by acknowledging the first paradox: "This story is older than the words with which it is written, though this is the first time it has ever been told." In his stories and fables, you'll find groaning cows, crows paralyzed by paranoia and fear, stumps suffering from borderline personality disorder and the truth about dragons. "In fact, real dragons," Teicher tells us, "were quite small. They did breathe fire, but only enough to be mistaken for a firefly on a very dark night. They were harmless as fireflies, though that didn't stop anyone from killing them."

"Cradle Book" provides no safe place for sleep (because in it, we are often the villains). Instead, it offers up the dark fodder we require for our best dreams and reminds us that "we do all know, or at least we believe, that there are some things which must occur and which we cannot understand. Without them, the world would surely stop."