-the cells responsible for the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly

Remember: they summon no shift
through fear. They are fate-mapping:
swirling into stalks and coils, the thin

pennons we become that make us
rise, but make us delicate. They know
the future. So often, we like to think

what makes us human is our foredoom,
but what makes the Blue, the Hairstreak
is forewinged, something in them pulsing,

knowing flight is coming. The prescience
itself is attacked: the caterpillars’ own being
hates that it knows it will change, won’t

let the secret be. Life can’t all be
eating. Sometimes it is more rhythm,
sorting the body into another frequency

that can grow to unfurl itself: mutilated
at first, the wings crimped by chrysalis,
but waiting in a beam, the limb smooths

to becoming what one can use. I know
there’s more to the air than I can know
or guess, or possibly even ask. Don’t need

to always know: all that’s ever worth adoring
is mystery. What I was is not what I am, but
is, and I love them that make what wanting I’ll be.  

Photo by Augustine Mullick on Unsplash

Kate Polak

Kate Polak is an artist, writer, and teacher. Her work has recently appeared in Plainsongs, McSweeney’s, So to Speak, Coffin Bell, The Closed Eye Open, Inverted Syntax, and elsewhere. She lives in south Florida and aspires to a swamp hermitage.