cabbageworm :: gabriel spera

Blind hungerer, probing mandible of glut,
she’d raze the whole damn yard if given
half the chance, seasoning the dirt
with tight green peppercorns of dung. The lush
nasturtium leaves, just yesterday offered up
like soft communion wafers dyed
the minted green of all that fills our hearts
with darkness, now recall a child’s first stab
at paper snowflakes, perfect forms debased
by graceless passage into fact. One thing is clear:
whoever promised us dominion over all
the beasts of earth has yet to clear it with
the bugs. Last fall, for instance, bowing
to snip the bounty of a summer’s worth
of providence and mulch, what did I find
but a cabbageworm like this one,
lolling in a blur of flagrant marigold,
beading the corolla with her orange-tinted
excrement, her body, too, fluorescing, green
no longer as she built into herself
the glory of the petals she consumed
as though to show how what we hunger after
can’t help but change us, stain us from within,
and that for every form and grace
there is a worm through which it passes,
given time, greedy enough to swallow
any flame, and every sun, and all
who turn their perfect hunger toward the light.