Petal Journal

Cassidy McFadzean


How breath enters
the body spellbinds.
I am half flesh and
half air, a fireplace
bellows, or empty
bag of rigid boards
pressed to channel
a stream of air.
Breath stoked our
Victorian fireplace
as atoms ricocheted
inside me, tending
a flame my lungs
fed when I breathed.
I dreamed last night
I was kicked out
of an oxygen bar,
tubes of plastic
attached to friends’
nostrils, inhaling
a beaker of blue
atop the counter.
We want to appear
lighter than we are.
Light as a feather,
stiff as a scar.


I could not sleep for turning,
against the noises of the night.

When I had a room to work in,
I was glad and I could write.

But when I placed my head down,
my senses whirred as thoughts unsettled.

Veering brought me to my limit.
No, I could not sleep for turning.

I could not rest for dreaming,
when crossing over, I finally dozed.

My dreams gave me a tower,
major arcana loomed above.

Water crashed against the cliffside.
Coarseness grating on the smooth:

I saw carpet fibers caught in flames.
No, I could not sleep for turning.

I could not wake for feeling
all this world is one stray thought.

That veering atoms, given time,
form an insect’s mandible,

or as sugar spun to cotton,
or as a tree fused to a car.

Or as language joined to babble.
No, I could not sleep for turning.

Cassidy McFadzean is the author of Hacker Packer (McClelland & Stewart, 2015). Her poems have appeared in magazines across Canada with new work in Carousel, Prelude, and the Walrus. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently lives in Regina where she is a sessional lecturer at Luther College.