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Lepidoptera

September 26, 2008

Fused in sleep, we lie back to back, our fingers
reaching toward opposite windows
from beneath the pale green comforter.
In dream the metamorphosis is complete:
we rise as one creature, our veined wings
stretched taut across rumpled sheets,
our body, that crooked stick, pounding
with shared life as wings lift.

There are no flowers on our earth,
only stars, bright-haloed, and between,
the black stramonium petals encircling
the yellow moon. We drink light,
within the moon’s calyx, our wings wither,
fall from our sides. We siphon
night’s nectar, coiled tongue uncurling,
sip the healing that rises in us like waves

and step out from the light, the fragile staff
we have become bursting into flower.
Stars swarm beyond our leaftips.
One of us cries out. I open my eyes.
You turn to face me in your sleep.
The lashes against your cheek
are pale shadows of wings.

by Susan Roney-O’Brien

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  1. September 26, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Oh, yes.

  2. Pat
    September 26, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    what an incredibly beautiful poem!

  3. September 27, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Gorgeous imagery. You make me see this poem’s world so clearly with my mind’s eye.

  4. September 29, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Beautiful metaphor and intricate structure — I like this very much.

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