The Fall of Fairy Castle by Erin Hoffman

There was a castle on a hill
in my childhood;
       my father and I agreed that it was
       clearly inhabited by fairies.
Long into my wild years
I remember it against the sky—
spider spires eclipsing a palladium moon
rising grand and gibbous
       still bright with the breath of the sun.

The seasons passed
and I passed, too,
from that place—
but unlike the sands
in the fairy hourglass
I returned each year
to find it changed.

There are rivers,
       or there were,
threading this golden land;
fingers sunk deep in clay and turquoise
and life.
They receded
as waves of humanity crept closer,
swallowing rolling chaparral
with folk that had no memory
of clicking insects,
spidery manzanita,
or sharp, sweet wild licorice.

Most do not think that California
could possibly have had this magic;
the fairies are gone now,
along with the plains
the cows
the stars
and all the other things that we
so gloriously
did not understand.

Erin Hoffman’s poetry has appeared in Electric Velocipede, Not One of Us, Antimuse, and other similarly nefarious publications. She is a freelance writer and video game designer originally from southern California and there to return, with many onerous quests in between.

Image: The Dinky Bird Maxfield Parrish, from Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field, 1904.