Caterpillar Summer by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

The worms have set their tents in the locust trees:
it’s another caterpillar summer, a season for
gnawing and changing. The silvered chrysalis
pendant from the milkweed leaf is lovely,
but the tents in the trees make one uneasy, these
dirty silk bags with their shadow-play of a hundred
creeping larval bodies, faceless and half formed.
Gypsy moths, some call them,
but the name seems too lovely for these creatures
of my nightmares, creatures that in my unhappy dreams
crawled into my boots, writhed up the foot of my bed,
crept over my sleeping ankles and calves, so I woke
in horror, and had to throw the covers back to check.
But now August’s languid sun has dipped
below the treeline, and the locusts are ablaze
with silver and gold, the tents are splendid,
the caterpillar royalty summoning their courts
for one final feast, before the earth tips us all
into darkness.

Rebecca Bratten Weiss
rebecca_bratten_weiss-rbwPart time English professor, part time organic farmer, Rebecca Bratten Weiss resides in rural Ohio. She has published a chapbook of poetry, Palaces of Dust, co-authored two works of comic fiction, and is currently seeking publication for The Serpent Motif, an epic-tragic-comic novel about commune life.