Bombyx Mori

because, I wanted to be Hedgewitch, for one poem.

There is no sight,
no marvel for fingertips
to rival my love, langorous
in her gorgeous silk kimono.

I am perfect for her, because
I am the small white child of parents who could neither fuck nor feed
without the assent and assistance
of a greedy audience.

I devour each tidbit I am given,
from the mulberry leaves in my love's singular garden.
My line is univoltine--
romantics of the most deluded stripe.

Behold me, my love.
I have consumed your casual offerings in their thousands,
and from deep within myself,
can now spin out the most magnificent and coveted stuff.

I will wrap this poem around myself like second skin--
cell memory sings to me of transformative sleep,
but also of the boiling pot.
Now is the time for you to scald me,
kill me,
devour me in turn;
What sort of sweet grotesquery can it be,
to wear another's work
as one's own beauty?

You must forgive me if there is now a break in my lineage;
I have hidden my cocoon in solitary shadows, where,
though I stir within its walls at your calling,
I am not fool enough to reveal myself.

One day, you will look up to see
Bombyx mandarina
dull and gray,
common and beneath regard,
but able to catch the waft from the pretty fan you so desultorily wave,
to rise, departing,
and fly.


Bombyx mori, the domestic silkworm, is the caterpillar of the domestic silkmoth, which cannot fly, nor feed itself, nor survive outside of human care. When the caterpillars reach the pupa stage, they spin raw silk around themselves to form a cocoon. This cocoon is then boiled in water, and the heat kills the pupa inside, and makes the silk easier to unravel. Pupae dishes may be served and eaten.

univoltine--breeding once yearly

Bombyx mandarina is the wild silkmoth. This unremarkable-looking moth is able to fly and to survive independently.   



hedgewitch said…
I don't see much hedgewitch here--just the focused and large brain of Fireblossom at play in the words of the cosmic dictionary. And your incomparable gift for fusing image with character to drive a theme home. I do admit to really having process-note envy, though. That is a killer metaphor.
Helen said…
May I just say ... (certain I will have to recant this)... my all time favorite Shay poem! That image is unbelievable.
This is unbelievably good; I will savor it several times, I'm sure. I am particularly favoring this at the moment: "What sort of sweet grotesquery can it be,
to wear another's work
as one's own beauty"?
HermanTurnip said…
Wow. Reading your notes at the end after your poem brought the entire piece into focus. I went back and read the poem a second time, enjoying it in a completely different way. Well done!
Cloudia said…
you provoke a response that is not cognitive, but fecund and stirring with feelings and memories and hopes and shames

ALOHA from Waikiki!
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3
Daryl said…
should come with a warning .. may need to read many many times to fully take in all the wonderful
Sioux Roslawski said…
I admit it. I dragged out my 18-pound dictionary, ready to look up all the words I had never even encountered, until I (thankfully) read your note at the end.

Gorgeous images. I agree with Hedgewitch. This is just another mind-blowing poem from a poet that Shay has morphed into. It's all Shay---all day, every day (and holy crap, it's sometimes twice a day).
Kerry O'Connor said…
What sort of sweet grotesquery can it be,
to wear another's work
as one's own beauty?

I thought these lines were extraordinarily good, and could stand alone as a beacon of wisdom.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Fantastic writing, pure Fireblossom, except for maybe the are in a whole other league of your own, kiddo. Something is very wrong that you are not famous. But you are to us!
Maude Lynn said…
Incredibly. Truly incredible.
Lynn said…
The note at the end wraps it up nicely - lovely, FB.
Sara said…
Guess I'll have to return that lovely blouse I bought...

This post is like a combination of a Hilary post and Shay -- beautiful poetry and interesting facts.

I sighed at this: "I will wrap this poem around myself like second skin--"

I also liked the part of the "dull and gray" silkmoth who gets to "catch the waft from the pretty fan...and to rise, departing and fly."

BTW in my opinion, no one writes poetry like you.
Dulce said…
hmmm great one!
Jennifer Wagner said…
Amazing how you wove this. And I learned some things too which is quite cool. Smart write!
Anonymous said…
Wonderful complex poem that still conveys a great deal on a simple level, just reading line by line. Silken flow (with wings.) k.