A Charm to See Faeries

Winter, 2016–2017 / No. 38

The first time I saw fireflies

my eyes were scratched with flecks

of dust I tried to blink away.

Did early impressions of the galaxies

seem to stargazers also a mistake?

I watched the trails the insects left

in a blink of light, a shooting star

I could grasp and hold tight

until the light went out, then discard it.

Witnessing my wonder, James spoke

of being woken by flashing in the night,

fire stealing inside his window.

Visions came to me in this way,

in the dress I wore of long tulle

Winter’s mom called “luna moth.”

We sat inside the Foxhead, Winter

and me, above us grinning taxidermy,

one of my last nights in Iowa City.

Upon graduating from poetry school,

—a mostly made-up degree—

we held certificates with no name

and watched a green-winged moth

flittering at the street lamp. It was

drawn to its light as we were,

its movements becoming violent,

gesticulations bringing it as close

to the lamp as it dared. Time

fizzled away. We moved home,

Nathan held my body, made me squirm.

I closed my eyes and heard wings.

A moth flew above us, flicked

itself against the lamp, and fell

against the wall. I folded there.

Cassidy McFadzean lives in Regina and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She published her first collection, Hacker Packer, in 2015. Last updated winter, 2016–2017.