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Blog

This from That

Rachel Malde

by Dana Levin

Aurelian, 
         who studies the emergence of butterflies
from chrysalides,
         of fighter jets
from number charts, 
          of syllables
from kettledrums - 

          -

         Insects that pupate in a cocoon
must escape from it
         says Wikipedia.

         Wikipedia, which says: 
Whilst inside the pupa

         Says: digestive juices, to destroy much
of the larva’s body 
    

         larva meaning
it’s own 

         which has been instructed 
to leave a few cells intact for

          holometabolous
total change 
         through the nutrients of suffering, of the self-

         carnivore-

(lumbering up,
         hoisting my flesh from the floor-)

         -

I study ziggurats
         from cigarettes. Smoke 

the effluvia of fire, the 
         fire in the mouth from 

cigarettes, from
         ziggurat 

         striking dry tinder from the tongue-

“It is queer to be assisting
         at the éclosion 

         -

         of a great new mental epoch,”
wrote William James
         in 1906:

eclosion, verb eclose,
         ”emergence from concealment”- 

which is what “religion and philosophy” do, 
         which is what certain

insects do,
         even people, slipping their suits, and what we need

         is a new mental epoch-

whatever lies
         beyond 

         self-liquidation-

         -

Aurelian.
         Who studies

         concerto notes
from finger scales,
         survivor guilt
from firestorms,
         apologies
from bombing runs-

         Through the open back door, 
bending a petunia, 

Papilio machaon
         drinking deeply

         and long.