Saturday, September 15, 2012

Black Hairy Caterpillar

After the charge around the room,
the black caterpillar curled not to move,
I walked away without knowing if he
would turn around, stick his tongue out.

The weight he pulls is heavy
all those legs underneath, the tall
assemblage of hairs, flashing red face
navigating a wall with no ears.

He goes forward with timid stiffness,
climbs down to the floor, door opening.
He starts to run, sliding first, his body
bowing up like a Greek symbol.

I couldn't hold him back. Could you?
Beating the air with his tiny heart,
dreaming of a windswept courtyard
of quiet, of space, of leaf matter.

When I least expect, he's back.
No change on his face, legs and hairs
spread along the gutter. Will he fall?
Be swallowed by some greedy mouth?

I think of the creatures of Sylvia Plath.
The ones she wrote in a poem. Would
she say? 'The weight of his life is small.
Let be. Let be.'


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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @​​docs/joyous_lake/


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