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Shut In


Pushcart Nominee 2022

Image by Celine Lityo

I have my puffy terry cloth

bathrobe. My furry slippers, too.

I’ve nestled in them, havened from

the bug, the burg, the ballyhoo,

subsisting semi-sumptuously,

half-safe from crises yet to come,

        content in my cocoon.

I feel I’ve morphed into a moth-

to-be—brown, furry, meek and gray,

a minion of the moon and night—
or butterfly—a thing of day
and popular flamboyancy
with colors bold and manners bright.

       But I would just as soon,

if possible, be some of both,
as people were, once: pastel brown

as well as orange in the sky.
Plus bolder hues to paint the town

in splendor and humility;
for as both moth and butterfly

       I’d serve both sun and moon.

But in a puff, my puffy youth
has passed. The times, of late remiss,

are making me, at last, decide
to make the metamorphosis—
risk all to be what I’m to be.
And I shall do it—go outside!

       Perhaps this afternoon.

James B. Nicola is a returning contributor to Honeyguide Magazine. His seven full-length collections (2014-22) are Manhattan Plaza, Stage to Page, Wind in the Cave, Out of Nothing, Quickening, Fires of Heaven, and Turns & Twists (just out). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award.

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