by E. Lily Yu

Midges I mur­dered, tap­ping pen to page,
Fold­ing down the grave and read­ing on,
Take com­fort: Like­wise I shall be dispersed
In fly­specks, flecks, iotas, tast­ing first
The pain­less lit­tle sup­pers of becoming
A metrop­o­lis of corpse and sex­ton beetles
Feath­er-foot­ed, leather-jack­et­ed, bright-barred,
And bat­tal­ions of blue­bot­tles, soap-sheen-shelled.
To be whol­ly dis­as­sem­bled and assumed
In small­er and more per­fect architectures,
And after the unweav­ing of all muscle,
Despite extinc­tion of the last lamped nerve,
To twist and blis­ter from the blood-fed egg,
To crack ely­tra, strike the air, and fly:
What but bliss and bless­ing call this change?

In the pock­ets where wet hearts once beat,
The dead of ear­ly Egypt wore a word,
A scarab cut from fine hard porphyry,
Its bel­ly scratched with spells: khep­er, trans­form
For­ev­er with­out ceas­ing, with­out rest,
As the boat­man of the sky col­lects decay,
Rolls it into a sun, and in its depths
Begets his clutch of heli­o­la­trous sons.
Such gods of insect mind their works begin
With end­ings, lion car­cass­es, carrion,
Crumbs of sti­fled stars, chilled meteors.
In time the void and waste will propagate
Mass­es of tum­bling tur­bu­lent hot lives,
Like this new blink-winged speck above my book,
Psalm­ing his legion genealogies,
A con­so­la­tion, if I choose to hear
The sweet descent from fine to fin­er scale.
As from the patient dark of nebulae
Accre­tion and igni­tion, so do I
Await insec­tion into con­stel­lat­ed wings and eyes.

E. Lily Yu is a stu­dent and a paper air­plane and a swal­low with indi­go wings. Her work has appeared in Gob­lin Fruit, Elec­tric Veloci­pede, The Keny­on Review Online, and Quick Fic­tion. She win­ters at Prince­ton University.

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