We Named Her Cumpleaños by Laura Foley

We Named Her Cumpleaños

She cocooned on my birthday, spinning wildly all day,
then hung like a stilled green bell, from a leaf stem
I had placed in the open jug we called her home.

Ten days on, her covering turned translucent black,
giving a window view of her wings’
black and orange beauty.

Then, as we held our breath, some unnamed energy
seemed to leave, stopping the progress of change,
as if the thought of opening became too much to bear.

Still cocooned weeks past her time, my fool’s hope
chose to lay her gently on the ground
under the raspberry bush, well past the time of ripe berries,

but no god rose from her shroud,
and I wished to think no more of her, or birthdays,
and what they signify.

Still, I kept wondering, as the days shortened,
if I’d somehow wronged her,
in trying to direct her metamorphosis,

as winter barged in with its egotistical force,
its snow and wind burying
the shell from whence a soul had fled.

by Laura Foley, first Published in Muddy River Review.

Editor’s Note: This lament begins hopeful, but moves towards despair, and somehow feels fitting for this particular year in this particular civilization.