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The Caterpillars
by Larry Colker

They wake like cosmetic surgery patients.
Memories of crawling vanish
as the sun warms the bodies
they could not have dreamed of:
Dog Face,
Provence Chalk-Hill Blue,
Great Spangled Fritillary.

When the woman I married woke up
next to the wrong man,
that was my signal
to become inert,
await rebirth.

I want to be great,
I want the caterpillar’s gift to the butterfly—
amnesia, and wings.

(originally appeared in Pearl)


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