She Speaks of their Wondrous Transformation and Peculiar Nourishment from Flowers
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)
Not from sludge but from the chrysalis—
winged butterflies, powder-white moths emerge.
Fuzzed or silky caterpillars wrap themselves,
spun to metamorphosis. Johann watches me sketch
the rings and lines of butterfly and caterpillar circling
host plant, which I fill with yellows, greens, oranges.
How lovely to crouch in dirt, to feel the ridges
of an eye spinner as it feasts on a coral tree.
These transformations beat like wings on my heart
when I render it as an imprint in each new book.
The children love muddying their day clothes as I collect more
for the studio, for another collection. I know
the priests must have made an honest
mistake to think such a thing could sprout
not from budding, translucent blue but from mud.
A native of York, PA, Alyse Bensel is the author of the chapbook Shift published by Plan B Press. She received her MFA in poetry from Penn State in 2012 and her poetry has appeared in Cider Press Review, MAYDAY Magazine, and Word Riot, among others.