Read Write Poem Mini-Challenge Poem #2: Chrysalis

This is the second of six poems written for January 2010’s Read Write Poem Mini-Challenge (to write six poems about starting over in six days). I think I’ll likely follow the theme of “shedding skin”, since it seems to be where my mind is going, with these poems. This is no different — I chose a chrysalis for this piece.

To see the other mini-challenge poems that I am writing this month, click here.



I see the descent of daylight
smoking up ahead. Inviolate azure, streaked near its bottom
with red, violet, and tangerine evening. Behind me,
my car, ruptured open, deliquescing smoke and
bleeding suicide flame Hallelujahs into the air as it
reduces itself down to lowest terms: ash, glass,
and rubber. Next to it, a concrete cylinder, an elephant’s leg,
stands streaked with my blue paint signature while
it and its brother bear a freeway overpass upon their
shoulders. I

walk up the meridian like a spine,
a wreck walking away from a wreck,
arms clothed with confusion. I raise them up, hands to temples,
praying to the freeway gods on the shoulder of this
brand new road with barely a pockmark,
laid just for me and every other asshole with
four tires and a death wish.

This time, it’s different. I’m used to
nights black and covered in shattered gold,
cut by intersecting concrete curves –
bridges, freeways, side streets,
mass mayhem hells built by flesh ants and
unholy saints wielding curves, numbers, and my
tax money. I’m used to
breathing out yellow stink oceans and dodging
every badge-and-radar nightmare dotting the sides of the
roads. I’ve left behind:
broken metal-and-glass magnificence;
doubled-over sentinels of dead wood with telephone wire hair;
and trunk-and-bark Lakshmis reaching their million arms up
into 2 A.M – and I have always flown away,
bruised, dented, hissing drink, and
covered in someone else’s detritus. But now,

when I look back at the metal torch monster
coughing crackle and thunder behind me, I see
my crumpled self,
a mannequin of burning bone, skin, and muscle. He’s
falling in suspense, headfirst, charred face
resting on an airbag pillow. He doesn’t know that
I escaped, walked out of him, shed him like a suit of clothes
ragged from time and tension, ties and collars,
clocks, paychecks, and hell.

The raging song of crinkle and snap slowly fades behind me
as I walk up the shoulder of the freeway. I pass
a tree casting her branches away from the road as if to
shield her green from the diesel and urban dirt flying
past her every day. Swinging from a leaf in a
wind that I cannot feel, I see a
chrysalis, a clear broken bell, a shell void like
my own that is still burning back in the car. I raise my hands up and
walk on, feet free of stumble, towards the oozing sky
in the distance. I want to plunge my hands into
that colored flood and see if it is real.

Written 1/12/10 and 1/13/10
© 2010 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

Stumble It! Stumble It!


About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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