She Speaks of their Wondrous Transformation and Peculiar Nourishment from Flowers by Alyse Bensel

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.

 

Alyse Bensel

 

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. 

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