Kevin Casey, “Hexagenia limbata”

orange line

Hexagenia limbata

North of the Firesteel River mayflies
form a vertical regatta, frozen
on the porch door’s screen, the sails of their wings
casting shadows in the sodium light.
Years in the mud, two days on the dry side
of the lake—this will be their final night.
Their adult form has no working mouth;
they now live moment to moment, sustained
in the end as if by memories alone.
Voiceless and sated, they’ll weigh anchor
once the tide of night has withdrawn
and the fog lifts from the riverbank,
pushing off into day and their awful doom,
this singular and wondrous chance.


Kevin Casey is the author of Ways to Make a Halo (Aldrich Press, 2018) and American Lotus, winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). And Waking… was published by Bottom Dog Press in 2016. His poems have appeared in Rust + Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column “American Life in Poetry.” For more, visit


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