When we echo out
Of the cocoon,
Less the old,
And more new,

With eyes slitted,
Winking awake to find
Our reflection

What came before here?
What strange creature
Stands before me?
A stranger me,
And far more beautiful.

But who is this,
That is I,
This unknowable new,
This timid glance at all,
That’s changed?

And who is this
Thing of beauty,
Staring back just as me,
Who stares behind a face
I barely recognize
Who is me?

And in those eyes
In the mirror I see,
Wonder, shock, and fear.
How can this that I see

How can I,
But a creeping and crawling thing,
Transform thusly,
Extravagant, winged, and free.

How can it be that I,
Caterpillar, could dare to
Dream of the stars,
And learn to fly?

How is it that I
Could be staring back
At all this beauty, at this self,
And it be me?

With all these thoughts,
My wings have dried
From their birth of cocoon shell,
And I feel them unravel,
I feel them and for the first time,
I really feel.

And my feet lift
One by one,
Toes tipped up and off
The ground.

And the Earth unfolds beneath me
The sky unhindered
By blades of grass,
And I soar untethered,
And free
And as ever,
More and truly, me.

-Angel Marie Russell