Pale green queen, in your fourth
and final form, you did not
come this far to be eaten.
In flight, the long tails
of your hindwings flutter, creating
the illusion of multiple targets.
Watching you, I wonder if writing
and erasing is one of my
sentences there, then gone,
the alphabet swept flat
by silence. You have fine veins
and maroon margins
on your broad front wings.
Your enemies are bats, owls,
and hornets. Mine are men
who lunged at my life
in both fast and slow motion.
You travel now how you must,
I write light, safe clearing, river,
erase it, then write it again,
until it slips like a leaf into morning.
Chloe Honum grew up in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her first book, The Tulip-Flame (2014), was selected by Tracy K. Smith for the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize, named a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and won Foreword Reviews Poetry Book of the Year Award, the Eric Hoffer Award, and a Texas Institute of Letters Award. She is also the author of a chapbook, Then Winter (Bull City Press, 2017). Chloe has been a guest poetry editor for the Pushcart Prize anthology, and her poems have appeared in such journals as The Paris Review, Poetry, Orion, and The Southern Review.