Scoundrel Time

Villanelle neuroptera

A mantisfly sunk in Cretaceous amber
displays strong forelegs jabbing for the air.
They bristle, seeking to reduce its danger.

Observing it we wonder which is stranger,
that gone world or our own. Consider, here:
a mantisfly sunk in Cretaceous amber.

See its integuments in their splendor,
lace-wings and stony back. Its jaws, ajar,
still bristle, seeking to reduce its danger.

And yes it’s lovely too, the small cadaver.
Slow minutes of its fate are held afar,
this mantisfly sunk in Cretaceous amber.

As if it never struggled. Though, it’s clear,
feeling the sticky deluge rise, impair,
it bristled, seeking to reduce its danger.

Cracked golden sap surrounds it as a coffer
containing, quite extinguished, what we shared.
A mantisfly sunk in Cretaceous amber
still bristles, seeking to reduce its danger.

 

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Catherine Rockwood’s poems appear in Reckoning Magazine, Rogue Agent Journal, Psaltery & Lyre, The Ethel Zine, and elsewhere. Essays and reviews in JMWW, The Mom Egg Review, Tin House, and Strange Horizons. Her chapbook, Endeavors to Obtain Perpetual Motion, is forthcoming from the Ethel Zine Press in 2022. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

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