Arthur Conan Doyle & the Fairies

Lori Lamothe


“It is hard for the mind to grasp what the ultimate results may be if we have actually proved the existence upon the surface of this planet of a population which may be as numerous as the human race.”


Maybe it was the magic of the place 

that took you in. The garden a study in flowers—

hollyhocks and marguerites,

lilies, primroses, carnations, peonies,

the outside world muffled by trees

and the laughter of children.


Or maybe it was the girls themselves

who cast a spell over logic.

Because even at nine and sixteen

imagination can still turn dark,

burn innocence at the stake

or crush a man under stones.

How disarming, then, to find two

who preferred fairies to power

who wanted no part of a world

still recovering from reality.


Even years later, when the garden’s bright

nomenclature became unreadable,

just a scribble of weeds,

when the girls weren’t girls anymore

but married women with naughty children

of their own—you still wanted to believe.

After dark you sat in your armchair

for hours, just to stare once more at

the photographs.

By the glow of scotch and firelight,

spirits flickered out of hiding,

wings opened across black and white.   



Lori Lamothe is the author of three poetry collections. Her fourth book, Tulip Fever, was published in fall 2022. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Gingerbread House, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Shore, Verse Daily and elsewhere. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize a number of times and is currently caught up in the NFT craze. When not writing, she can be found walking her two rescue huskies, minting creepy photo art, baking, reading and/or procrastinating.