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'What if' by poet Natalya Sukhonos

Poet Natalya Sukhonos reads her poem "What if."

What if?

Next time you ask: why the indoor picnics with kids?

I’ll say: butterflies taste with their feet.

We’ll dance on the picnic blanket

once we’re done with our crackers and cheese.

Our feet will taste of crumbs and Cheddar,

tango from San Francisco,

magical carpets and exhaustion.

Split open, a caterpillar in a chrysalis

is faceless goo. Two days later,

it’s a monster of beauty, with wing veins,

a maelstrom of color, the power of flight.

What if quarantine ripens us for transformation?

After being ensconced in our homes,

we shall emerge with a changed face.

The streets will smell of asphalt

as if rain has fallen on the city,

and the light will change

to a feathery, pellucid haze.

Silence will fall on the city,

a certain hush

a split second before

the folded wings unravel,

the body tenses,

the little larva angel flings itself into the blue,

forgets it used to crawl,

spreads its extremities

into the wind

surrenders to nothingness.