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  • Haylee Caserta

Ignis Fatuus

When I was fourteen—

all I needed to do to feel like myself

was listen to Bowie.

Until the sickness

of my summer of blue lipstick and heart shaped balloons

melted into mush—

Left in the pocket of new and ruined jeans in the dryer.

Before the boredom of high school settled—

and before the mystique that hung like incense smoke

was revealed to be only tea kettle steam,

poetry was just strings of flowery words—

that had no purpose but to sound pretty to me.

But on that first day,

before we noticed the houseflies—

and before we realized how early 7AM really is,

the rising sun replaced floodlight fluorescents—

and amidst their sundresses and stiff grandmother-bought polos,

I noticed you.

Gliding past me in slow-motion—

wearing jeans and a much loved black hoodie I knew

that you didn’t spread out your outfit the night before like a gallery piece.

Not because you did not care but because

you didn’t need to.

And from looking at your shoes I knew that you had lots to say—

but that this was not the audience you wanted to say it to.

And when I caught a glimpse of your face—

a baby face

but with such old eyes—

And when your lashes caught a ray from the window—

for a moment

glistening in gossamer gold—

I swear that in the splitting of a second

I saw my future.

And I couldn’t wait to turn seventeen.

* ignis fatuus: Latin term for will ‘o the wisp. Literally translates to “foolish fire”


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