This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Sally Rosen Kindred, is from Rare Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel, released by Green Writers Press in 2020.
Dorothea Maria Graff
I gather caterpillars like mulberries.
I harbor their bodies in my apron pockets,
thumb the leaves where I found them.
Any moving target will do, mother says,
as it eats its way through the weeds
in the orchard or the herbs used for poultice
to ward away pain. My mother and sister resurrect
the cock-eyed look of any insect with a single
haired brush. My clumsier hands make
broader strokes, my backgrounds full
of more color than the host plant
and caterpillar’s many forms. I can move
from devotee to deviant with these creatures
writhing around me, their silent hungry mouths.
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