Butterfly Woman

by Elissa Malcohn

Today you sip nectar for two,
your belly mushroomed to full moon
and rippling with the tide --
carried bloom to bloom
on baby's breath wings,
marrying enormity to weightlessness.

Already your breasts stream
like the milkweed,
watering the wind --
your sprite curled inside,
and you a chrysalis

When she drops from you,
you will catch her
in spiderwebbed bunting
made from abandoned silk.

Her first, crystalline cry
will sound like an errant raindrop
falling in a cloudless sky,

while you beat the air above her,
wary of birds.

Elissa Malcohn was a 1985 John W. Campbell Award finalist, four-time Rhysling Award nominee, and former Star*Line editor. Poetry and fiction have appeared more recently in Aoife's Kiss, Asimov's, Electric Velocipede, Riffing on Strings, Space and Time, Strange Horizons, Unspeakable Horror, and elsewhere. She can also be found crouched in odd positions to photograph Florida's awesome bugs, or standing up to perform song and spoken word at open mics. More info, plus free downloads of her Deviations series, may be found on her website.

Her favorite fruit is the cantachini, a hybrid of cantaloupe and zucchini that grew in her community garden plot back in the 90s. Or maybe it's the hybrid of cantachini with acorn squash, which yielded a "green football."

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