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Clade Song 13

Cecropia Caterpillar My Neighbor, the Entomologist, Gave Me

I put it in a plastic bag, I fill with my poetic breath,
put a knot at the top, and hang from a tool shed rafter.
I bring the creature silver maple leaves to eat, so
(like an emerald accordion that nature plays from stretch
to scrunch) it can hump along each leaf edge, 
powerful mandibles dwindling thin provisions down
to lacy arrangements of veins and central stem.

Two ravenous months later, when Chapter 1 of its life
is about to end, it turns into a sanguine seamstress
stitching a silky shroud to pull over the body.

If all goes well, the old self will go molten—
cold heat, dark light, an almost radioactive half-life energy
is required to reshape itself into a colorful glamorous fluttering—

                                                Drum roll.
                                                Curtain up.
                                                Stage lights, 
                                                Theatrical premier for this
                                                Cecropia diva in eye-catching
                                                kimono emerging triumphant
                                                from the wings.






Grey Held is a recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing and the winner of the 2019 Future Cycle Poetry Book Prize. Three books of his poetry have been published: Two-Star General (BrickRoad Poetry Press, 2012), Spilled Milk(WordPress, 2013), and WORKaDAY (FutureCycle Press, 2019). He offers a weekly online poetry workshop (Poetry Round Table) for professional poets. He is also a literary activist, who through civic involvement connects contemporary poets with wider audiences.