Gated, sheltered, nook-dwelling darkness.

Then the opening of eyes, thresholds, sky;

uncovering of shoulders and of sun.


Half-spent, recess has finally begun,

this slow dawning of my wan smile,

extension of lung, neck, and hand—


a butterfly glinting sees my welcome,

senses safety, deigns to land.

A moment of shining wings


until its nesting brings

stinging, starting, a jerk back.

Too late, the deed is done,


winged cunt!

Receding into air—

white-hot horizon,


blistering shame,

blooming venom,

flesh opening its petals.


Inviting injury

takes a special grace;

dumbfounded pain,


stumbling, retracting

all my small-ball self

into place.


Enchanted princesses

never curse,

merely faint,


falling heavy,

cannonballs into moats,



disintegration, ripples still extending out like gentle hands.