Taking center stage in the felt and fiber exhibit
was a shrouded human-size figure,
death wrapped in yellow
— the color of butter and bees —
but called Chrysalis to imply resilience
resilience in the face of everything
OMG, the everything we face sometimes feels like death —
its foul smell invading even the simple pleasures
it’s hard to ignore the crises in woods that are dying
it’s hard to ignore the crises in the violence of a Sunday drive
it’s hard to ignore the crises when even my favorite characters are battling hate and headlines
every thing of the injustice
I long for the days when my favorite characters could just fall off ferry boats and have sex in on-call rooms.
When their soundtrack was mine on a Sunday drive that didn’t require white knuckles and a prayer.
When the woods were lush and fertile, the promise of the butterfly born from the Chrysalis, color and light and HOPE.
It makes you want to lie down, wrap covers around your tired body, and sleep a deep and dreamless sleep,
because these days even the dreams are pockmarked and ravaged
and you wake gasping for breath, the bile of it all burning your throat,
a burn that nothing will assuage…except the last Jiffy corn muffin
dripping with butter and drizzled with honey,
a final gift from the bees, who swoop and swarm en masse, before leaving for good.
Poem ©2023, Jen Payne. An ekphrastic poem contemplating the juxtaposition of Chrysalis Shroud for LGBTQ: Allies Supporting Resilience by Annie Collier and Kim Hahn, and Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix by LeBrie Rich in the national exhibition FELT: Fiber Transformed that was on view at the Guilford Art Center, March-April 2023. Photos by Ashley Seneco.
If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gif