Cassidy McFadzean


I pull a card and make a wish
Sipping horseshoe decanter—
I must have licked a toad

The scalpel snips the flesh
Silver nitrate for the growth
Matchstick for the tissue

The flesh cauterized Singing
defiant speech from the tip
of my blackened tongue

Three stitches holds me in
Waiting for a cryptic message:
It’s exactly as we expected

The inside of a garlic clove
A remedy imprinted with
the signature of its scourge

The root of it remained
Virus feeding on mutant genes
Stuttering Philomela

I spill my gut feeling
A voice on a screen insisting
The light in you is all I see


Fortune distributes boons and woes

banishes those who demand too many boons

So marks a third of my life which seems a sliver

the further I slither from it

and all the silver baubles are shaken down

It was neither ham-fisted nor pussy-footed

Yet I felt its heaviness And and and

Even as I moved through its corridors

There were riches and sorrows and sorrows and riches

The song’s the same; the chorus repeats

In the early hours of the recent decade

a defunct email account alerted me

with registration for a class I did not take

toward an attachment I did not open

to memorize and perform, as an audition

A night fretful with worries

from Old English wyrgan to strangle

Seize by the throat and tear

So it goes The hangman in my throat

What music embedded In its skipping track

Cassidy McFadzean graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently lives in Toronto. She is the author of Drolleries (Penguin Random House Canada 2019) and Hacker Packer (PRHC 2015). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry JournalBOAATDiode, and Prelude.