Sunday, December 8, 2013

Caterpillar Man and Why I Will Not Attend Your Wedding, at Starline Summer 2013

Why I Will Not Attend Your Wedding

Thank you for inviting me
but do you remember
how we used to laugh
at the madnesses of our times?
Robot doves for weddings,
MILFs vying for men’s attentions
against designer-bodied grandmas?
Oh, how we roared

at the growing craze--faces for rent.
What appeal do stars have left

now that they are licensing
their eyes and noses
to anyone willing to pay?

Where did all our laughter go?
That man from the big city
may have put a ring on your finger,
but must you don a dog collar, too?

Must you fetch every bone the cityfolk throw,
and crinkle your nose at our beginnings,

too parochial for contemporary fashions?

Perhaps you’re no different now
to the fools who wear another’s face.
Edible diamonds will be served?
Then we might as well drink pearls!
If you like, you may bring your future husband here
and I will feed you both free-range chickens
before you start relying on rocks for nutriment.


Caterpillar Man

No one wanted to touch him, of course.
A larva the size of a full-grown man
born of a woman who died giving birth
and in her final moments entrusted her child to us—
Beautiful, she said, breathing her last
and leaving us to wonder, 

had she even laid eyes upon the bloated ridges 
on his back, the odd spiracular structures,
or the undeniable spinneret and fearsome mandibles?
Had we not witnessed his birth, we’d have burned him
at the stake with the vampires and witches.
Instead, we were kind enough to let him live

with the goats and the horses,
who allowed him a share of their hay and grain.
And in the way of larval insects, he did nothing 
but gorge and grow, yet we found 
that we despised him. Caterpillar Man, 
we taunted, Why don’t you bloom?

Hoping he would leave, we demanded that he fly,
that he show us the majesty of monarchs, 
or the brilliance of morphos and lacewings.
But he stayed and spun into chrysalis,
stealing the blue of sapphires one day
and turning into gold the next.

A shell as pretty as this
must yield an angel, we thought.
So we took our hatchets and hacked away; 
layer by layer we split him open
and found just the husk and its wet walls:
nothing inside.

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