I am firstborn, so I’ll always see them;
see the good, indifference, and evil.
It’s not like they’re too different from humans.
They’re what we would be if we, for once, forgot our rules--
if we stopped fearing anything we couldn’t control,
if we didn’t have imprinted consciences,
if we stopped pretending to be perfect
and understood we are all at least half monster.
We wouldn’t be where we are if we were like them.
If a Seelie lay on the floor bleeding out,
an Unseelie would laugh and laugh
and no one would call nine-one-one.
We would scavenge the earth,
but not like we do now,
with our clawing for oil, gold, diamonds,
we’d forever be hungry,
and we’d kill and eat each other and animals of the forest
for fun, for sport.
We’d be shameless, with no disease
and be almost infertile.
We’d be smarter, or wittier,
and sometimes we might decide we’re gods,
more than we already do.
I trust them,
but I’d never want to be one,
I embrace my humanity,
even as fewer and fewer do.
I cannot lie and say I don’t dream of elsewhere,
but at dusk in the church I know better,
I’m just lucky I know other exists.
Few are ever so lucky.
I say lucky.
At dusk on Tuesdays, she’s here at the church.
I’m never sure where she comes from,
but I think I know why she comes.
She misses her kin and kith,
having been tossed to Earth
like a skydiver minus his parachute.
She didn’t fall hard enough to sink,
so she can step foot into the church.
I sometimes wonder if she listens to the choir, the organ,
or if that would hurt too much.
I watch her now, I’m only a few pews back.
As always, she doesn’t see me.
As always, she looks young,
what we might now consider a preteen,
but her eyes scare you.
Her hair is a mess of blonde curls,
butterflies pinned down onto a headband,
still fluttering their wings weakly,
As always, she holds a small, pale blue purse,
strung with pearls,
and she doesn’t open it.
She just gives the crucifix one long look
and the floor underfoot rattles
and she wails.
There is barely any light in the church, but I can see the wings--
they look like a painting,
gossamer dipped in a multitude of oil paints,
and, this evening, blood red and cobalt blue drips from them,
onto the church floor,
and I know the reverend will be confused tomorrow night,
wondering how blue and red candle wax managed to get there.
In a moment, she’ll be gone,
and I might cry,
because I’m blessed and cursed,
ever since I was young,
I wanted there to be more to the world--
and I now know there is.
I’ve realized I can’t tell anyone,
for any would believe me mad,
and I can see and I can listen
for a few minutes on a Tuesday afternoon,
but I can never touch or smell.
I can never taste the silver apples,
their insides pulsing like a heart,
that are left behind when she leaves,
or the pale green wine that is in the cup for wine
for exactly fourteen minutes,
longer than I wish to stay,
because then I know I’ll be gone if I taste,
intuition and instinct making my heart sound like war drums.
It’s harder to know than to wish,
because while you now know the horrific side of it all,
you now know you could really leave,
that you could go to a place of awe and terror,
and leave behind that desk job and the town you never managed to move out of.
Because what is a career move and a bigger city,
when you can go to a new world entirely?
As always, the fay girl leaves
and I pick up the silver apples and chalice,
and dump the apples and contents of the wine cup
into the dumpster behind the building,
and I smell better because of the rain that happened an hour earlier,
and I can smell freshly cut grass and garbage and my own sweat,
and I am almost sick.
I return the chalice, and my phone rings,
and I almost pull out my hair.
I should leave, one day,
but I know I likely won’t,
especially not to elsewhere,
and maybe not even to a bigger city.
I’m likely crazy,
but I answer the phone anyway,
hear the drone of human voice, a smoker’s voice, and static,
and wonder if my mother on the other side of the line
even knows I’m crying.
If there’s one thing that separates us from fay,
it’s the fact fay aren’t ignorant--
if they do good, or they’re indifferent, or they hate
they’re well aware.
Humans, however, subconsciously ignore
more than they ever should.