Issue #11


Wind ruffles
the face of Ukushima.
Waves bloom, lost.

You lay beneath the surface, restless,
dreaming that you would no longer be
a dragon, a slick-scaled ghost beneath the waters.
Cry out to the night; a roar —
crop-withering, earth-shaking.

A caterpillar,
knowing nothing of its future,
weaves a chrysalis.

Wake. Stretch the ache of sleep
from your muscles, corded
beneath your skin like iron.
Flex your killer's claws, remember —
your body has betrayed you.

Upon a cherry branch
the butterfly pauses,
remembering its earthbound life.

Try to forget the brute creature
of your birth. The transition is painful,
chemical, but dreaming is worse.
Be a bird instead; fletched with gold,
shot through the air with an arrow's speed.

Blood is the deepest of dyes;
washed from the surface,
it remains.

The scalpel breaks your flesh, surgical and cold.
Emerge, leaving the husk of your former self
coiled in the deep — a cocoon abandoned,
a grave marker. Rise heavenward;
the sky is empty, beckoning.

Birth betrays us.
Limitless potentials narrow,
Become fixed.

Feel the wind churning at your stroke,
open your beak for an exultant song.
Listen, and despair.
Hear that your voice is still
the bass growl of the beast.

Touch the skin.
Feel it yield to the fingers,

Alex Marsh