The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Rare Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Sally Rosen Kindred, is from Rare Wondrous Things by Alyse Bensel, released by Green Writers Press in 2020. 

Daily Daughter

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.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press 2020) and three chapbooks. Her work has appeared in AGNIAlaska Quarterly ReviewGulf CoastSouthern Indiana Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference.

Sally Rosen Kindred‘s third poetry book is Where the Wolf (Diode Editions, 2021). She is also the author of Book of Asters and No Eden, as well as three chapbooks, including Says the Forest to the Girl (Porkbelly Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly ReviewLos Angeles ReviewShenandoah, and Kenyon Review Online. She teaches online workshops for The Poetry Barn. 


Leave a Reply