Paleoptera: The Tiny Life of a Mayfly by Polyxeni Angelis

 

My cells are older than this river I call my home,
when I was born I floated to the bottom of this globe,
so small the world took no notice,
and felt the sand caress my tiny body,
I tucked myself beneath a solid rock with my kind,
and listened to its stories of ancient battles, uncertainties and laments,
I fed on the green milk it provided,
sucked to my heart’s content,
I spent days and nights wondering my purpose,
believing every small shift of my body will certainly
create a tsunami of some kind somewhere in the world,
when it was time, a force pushed me through the currents,
these clear, soft curtains that once lulled me to sleep
now pushed me up so I may see the light I never knew
yet I understood I was to follow,
the light, my new home, shining like a silver steeple,
my church, my place of worship, new gods to teach me,
I break the surface without fear,
my sheer wings carry me and I’m free,
a new god whispers to me,
friend, your time here is short,,
I’m suddenly lonely, no soft bodies to warm me,
I want to play, fly loop de loops, kiss the sky, make my mark,
I want the world to know I was here,
I rush and tumble and spin,
what luck to be such a force in the wind
in these new, softer currents that lift me,
I find my mates and we sing the song of simple, perfect insect love,
As I lay dying, I realize my purpose,
I will fall asleep forever, my tiny body gone, disintegrated or fossilized,
as I dream of the currents that once carried me.

 

Polyxeni Angelis was born in Athens, Greece. She emigrated from Greece to America with her family in 1967. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. Her work has appeared in the 2011 Montreal Prize Global Poetry Anthology. Writing is her passion. She resides in Minnesota with her son.

 

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