Today I’m four and go to market
——–with my mother, she buys lilies
for the imaginary pool I colour in,
——–cuts grapefruit skin
into boats, unzips the husks
——–of each segment & lays them down–
naked bodies on
——–floating rafts. Waxy limbs protect
from sinking. How skin survives
——–a boat ride.
Tonight I read about
——–Monarch butterflies flying south
each year–3,000 miles
——–from Canada to Mexico, from milkweed
to wildflower. Not one completes the journey.
——–Only the children return.
Now, the Monarchs are symbolic of
——–Migration. America is full of gossamer
carcasses, flitting fragility between falling
——–bullets. There is nothing of butterfly
in my mother. I stop believing in
Lately I’m concerned by wings.
——-A week after my grandmother
dies, I dream
——-a head emerges from my own
womb, ashen, except its lips, at which
——-a tattooed starling is fixed
in cochineal. Insect wings ground-up
——-for paste. Later, I begin
EMDR treatment. I am cold as a fish
——-memory of the time it takes to cross the Atlantic
twice & end up right where I started,
——-with a woman yelling
go back to where you come from, her words
——-purpling the dusk.
Maia Elsner reads Cochineal wings