Poetry Showcase: The Summer Fairy by Lorraine Schein
Editor's Note: Today's Poetry Showcase is a summer jewel of a poem originally published in 2016. Enjoy!
The Summer Fairy wears a sea-green bikini
under a diaphanous yellow tunic
and shiny flit-flops on her feet.
Her wings look like bright, intricately patterned Japanese paper lanterns.
She has a small fan at the back of her neck that magically whirs to life when it gets very hot.
The Summer Fairy’s eyes are the blue of a chlorinated swimming pool in August;
her voice sounds like the boom and rushing spatter of a July thunder storm.
The Summer Fairy can sometimes be glimpsed in the floating dark spots
you see after staring at the sun too long.
Because she is the best swimmer of all the fairies,
you might also catch sight of her through the glaze of sunlit water on your face
as you break the surface from diving.
The Summer Fairy enchants adults into taking extra vacation days
and makes children forget everything they learned in school that year.
In the city, she goes to picnics in parks and parties on apartment rooftops
where she clings to swizzle sticks and the little paper umbrellas in drinks
and snacks on dips with baby carrots,
buzzing over them like a firefly.
Afterward, the hostess will wonder why she ran out of appetizers
when she made sure to buy extra.
Often the Summer Fairy is drawn by the scents from street fair booths
that sell magical oils and incense.
Then she’ll help the Tarot card readers
by whispering secrets to them about their clients.
She’ll make vegans want to eat greasy sausage and peppers and corn dogs.
Her hair becomes woven with blue and pink wisps of spun sugar
as she whirls around for a fun ride in the cotton candy machine.
If you win at the street fair toss games or wheels of fortune,
it’s because she likes you,
and wants you to have a large sparkly stuffed unicorn.
If you always lose,
try leaving her some funnel cake and a vanilla milkshake
on your kitchen floor by moonlight.
The Summer Fairy answers those anonymous ads on Craigslist
posted by people who have fallen in love
with an attractive stranger
glimpsed once while commuting.
Usually, it's her they’ve seen, and when they meet again,
she whisks the unsuspecting, besotted humans off to Fairyland,
never to be seen till many seasons later.
She’ll deposit them, spent but happy,
like empty soda cans on the nearest cold beach in the fall.
Lorraine Schein is a New York writer. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Mad Scientist Journal, Gigantic Worlds, Aphrodite Terra, and the anthologies Drawn to Marvel, Phantom Drift, and Alice Redux. Detail from Alphonse Mucha painting.