I’ve never believed in magic,
despite the seals and foxes that kept
showing me the way. This April,
when the cherry blossoms shook themselves
loose, I finally felt what witches felt:
my nerves twitchy, connected somehow
to the sky and fish and I started the shimmer
that leads to a migraine that familiar silver
curtain that falls over your vision
and then – magic powers. It’s not like you think,
all spells and black cats. It’s something
even better, something that singing
to the seals in the salty ocean taught me
what being asked to step out of life and into
the unknown, death, whatever —
led me to believe. That anyone could fly,
could burst spontaneously into flame,
we could become new forms, birds, trees.
That this life is brief and shining,
a contained box with a bow,
and after, all around us, is forever.
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess,She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, which won the Moon City Press Book Prize and the SFPA’s Elgin Award. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Notre Dame Review and Prairie Schooner. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.
Artwork: Alexandra Khitrova