More (4/4, Lifecycle)

an egg
	buttery yellow
		oval and intricately ridged
			barely visible
				but infused with the flow of life
its mother chose just the right leaf
	tender, moist, sunlit
		then curved her tail
			and prayerfully laid just one
innumerable siblings
	but each one planned
on a leaf of its own

a caterpillar
	driven to eat
		to grow
			to become its biggest
				realest self
single minded
	consuming machine
	for more

it eats
	and expels
		and eats
			and looks for the next leaf
and eats
	and expels
		until its pants get tight
it crawls off to a corner
		to wriggle out of its skin
			leaving it crumpled where it falls
then follows the scent of milkweed
	to feast again
relieved of its constriction
			it digs in with gusto

a caterpillar
	knows its job
		to eat
			to grow
				to expel
					to consume
			to get bigger so it can consume more
	to shed skins
grow more beautiful
	yellow and black stripes
		plump and juicy
	and sweet
its purpose is
	for more

a caterpillar
	after a day of frenetic gorging
feels a little queasy
	some sense of unease
		a doubt
			a disappointment
				a longing
it loses its appetite
	and wanders away
		down the stem
			to the ground
		it crawls away
	finds a wall
starts to climb
doesn’t know where it’s going
	just knows there has to be
		something more
	than eating and expelling
		and growing large

it finds a place
	up high
		under an overhang
			and rests there
		still and silent
its drive is gone
	it only waits
		not knowing for what
from its tail
	it secretes a webbing
		to say
			I’m done searching
				and striving
					I’m staying right here
				I’ve had it

when its tail is stuck fast
	and it is weary of clinging
		it lets go its many feet
			and dangles from its tail
bowing its head upwards
	it prays
		for an end
			for a change
				for something
			and surrenders

for hours it hangs
	drawing inward

its skin begins to itch
	as in the old days
and it starts to shimmy it slowly
	towards its tail
till a rip forms
	at the back of its head
		it tears more 
			and a little more
but this time
	there is no replacement skin underneath
		no backup plan
			this time it has shed its final skin
				nothing underneath
					but a pale green blob of nothing
						this is death
					the skin peels off
				balls up
		black and ugly
			drops to the ground

the wet blob begins to dry
	and as it does
		it takes on
			a graceful shape
				smoothly curved
			and luminous gold flecks appear
now a jewel of jade and gold
	hangs underneath
		a fence slat

a chrysalis
	hangs silent and still
		inside all is dark
			all is rest
				nothing to do
					nowhere to go
	just being
		an elemental breathing
				trusting beyond hope

a chrysalis
	a place of waiting
		of letting go
			death of dreams
				of all the old life
					and way of being
it cannot be hurried
	this is the new reality
		just an ornament hanging
inside is a melting
	a green soup churning
		slowly recreating
something may be happening
	not sure what
		but a longing is taking shape
			sharp, it stabs the heart
a silent cry
	for more
		there must be more

a chrysalis
	one day grows cloudy
		its green darkens
			the next, it is black
				with veins of orange
			is this sickness now
				the final death?
	something is happening
		not sure what
			an itch
				a restlessness
					an urge
			for what?

suddenly a crack
	in the clear outer shell
		a black head
			pushes against the crack
				opening it wider
					a wriggling
						a straining
		something is emerging
			not sure what
then a tipping point
	out flops a tail
		fat like the caterpillar
			but black as night
	long, thin black legs clutch and cling
		to the clear remains of the chrysalis
	and wet, shriveled wings
hang limply down
the tail pumps fluid
	and the wings slowly fill out
		smooth and shapely
			and beautifully patterned
				as the tail shrinks

a butterfly
	hangs upside down
	waving its wet and unaccustomed wings
		in the air
	what just happened?
		it isn’t sure
	rest awhile
		and think
		what do I do with these?

a butterfly
	soaks up sun
		with warmth comes strength
and suddenly a joy
	a knowing
		the long long longing
	wells up till bursting
		the wings catch the wind
	the clinging feet let go
the crawling creature
	becomes a flying wonder
and it floats away 
	on the wind
		in search of vivid blooms
		and honeyed nectar
	to discover the world
	to discover itself
its sweetest, realest self
	and more

by Celeste Boudreaux, May 2019

Next post: The Stray Kitten

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