Staring at the Chrysalis

My children downstairs thrill with news

of hanging caterpillars,

scream up to me,

“Come look!

Another one is in its chrysalis!”


I ignore them. I’m after bigger game.

The fog strays into the valley,

wraps gray gauze around tall Monterey pine,

cypress, scrub hills.

I wait to see what will emerge.


Today, the newspaper claims

the universe has a top and a bottom

as this ultimate place

prepares to squeeze back into a ball,

roll itself toward some infinite split,

come crashing out as an Einstein butterfly,

doing loopty loops beyond the boundary

of our glass jar.


Even my children have sprouted

into their shining bodies.

They discard their old skins somewhere,

or swallow them whole

so I can’t worship what they were.


Then, as everything flames to change,

I walk downstairs to see one caterpillar

fixing itself in a pea pod, a space suit, a scabbard,

hanging by the thinnest filament of time.