The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Faraway Places by Teow Lim Goh

This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Faraway Places by Teow Lim Goh, released by Diode Editions in 2022.

Butterfly Pavilion

I stand before the cocoons, waiting
for a twitch in the shells, a crack revealing
a colorful wing. There are none.

The cocoons are pinned
to cork boards, each dangling
from its tip, ordered
by species and country of origin.

Some look like snails.
Some look like tiny black bugs.
Some are the green of the first leaves of spring.

Nothing today.

I turn to the butterflies
around me, broken
out of their shells, dotting the forest
with their bright colors.

They flit from flowers to leaves, pause
on branches, their legs arched,
their wings folded. Once

they lift their wings, they launch into flight.

Teow Lim Goh is the author of two poetry collections, Islanders (2016) and Faraway Places (2021), and an essay collection Western Journeys (2022). Her essays, poetry, and criticism have been featured in The Georgia Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, PBS NewsHour, and The New Yorker.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly ReviewCream City ReviewSouth Dakota 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. 

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