All it takes is one turn
of the kaleidoscope and the butterfly-world shatters.
Why can’t you learn?
A chrysalis knows where it’s headed
and never looks back, but you left the highway
years ago following detour signs you never questioned.
Often at dusk when the dog drags you by the leash
around the same block, you wish you had somewhere
else to go. Maybe you’re already there.
Soon darkness will spread like algae over a pond,
and you won’t know the difference between sleeping
and waking. Once you cross the threshold,
your own shadow will abandon you.
You’ll have only a fruit-fly moment to explain yourself.
Reach for a word, and the shelf will be empty.
In this game if the arrow misses
the bullseye, you won’t get another chance.
JANE O. WAYNE’s poetry collections are Looking Both Ways (University of MO Press) which received the Devins Award for Poetry, and A Strange Heart which received the Marianne Moore Prize and the Society of Midland Authors Award, From the Night Album (Pecan Grove), and The Other Place You Live (Mayapple Press). Among other magazines, her work has appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Boulevard, The Baltimore Review, December, Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, Ploughshares, and The American Scholar.