Fire Ants on the Peonies, First Home, Kumiko by Madeline Neway


In my cradle of veiny green
I am birthed into the saturation.
A tick of the little hand and I shed my skin like
A child’s discarding of her blanket.

From the decay I emerge
A brilliant, white puss moth.
Berkana cast onto the cloth,
The Birch Goddess takes my place.

Like the dodo
I am gifted two new limbs.
Soft and wet they arrive to my back
But their presence does not weigh heavy on me.

I am a lovely girl.

I eat death for dinner like a maggot
Growing stronger and fatter with each bite.
For the first time I am untouched and untainted:
I recognize this to be my final form.

The odor of my weak youth and purity, sickly sweet, invites them
To come swarming like fire ants on the peonies.
My dainty new limbs are the first to go
(They are not stupid).

In the heat of their presence I am lacking but
I bleed no blood and the absence soon becomes me.
Devour, divide, they recognize their power.
I have yet to take my first bath.

The things before me neither change nor shift
But present to me their truth: antireality permeates.
I am All and I am encased,
Isa ceases fire and I can be released.


She shines in quiet acquiescence,
Just for me,
So that I may lay my
Cable-covered body
In the illuminated grasses
Of our first home.

Dew that collects and wets
Reflects your gentle arrival
As you bend over and our papery skin,
Aching and begging to be felt by the other,
Reaches out harmoniously.

The days collect and pile up
But he will always find me
Resting with my stomach facing the sky in the illuminated,
Freshly dead grasses of our first home,
With my hair pooled around me,
As if it is remembering the way it floats
In the river that runs beside us.


The August oranges have fallen
Like April rain.
Falling on the Luna moth
She drowns in murky mirrors.
So soon could
She have been saved.
Wings made of mint leaves
Swing and sway
Like tattered curtains
In an Oklahoma dust storm.

The electric wires that cover the ground
Look so bewitching and
I think I might just walk over
And introduce myself to
The horned man that I know so well.

The next day when
I find her body,
Ripped and ragged,
I pin her to my wall.
At night I can hear her
Flapping her wings.
The needles do not relent.

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