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Split Sestina for a Girl Named Chrysalis

by Jamie Stanish

Split Sestina for a Girl Named Chrysalis
By: Jamie Stanish

I.
A girl in a butterfly dress sips grape juice
on her favorite swing, listens to blue-
birds sing. In the house, her mother sips wine
from a glass. She swears when the toast catches fire
outs the flame. The toaster, a mirror,
Shows her the face she hasn’t seen in days.

The butterfly girl starts first grade in three days.
She can’t wait, but right now she needs more juice.
On her way inside, she skips past a mirror.
Pretty face, curls, little hands, and a blue
sippy cup, empty. Her mom swats the fire
alarm with a towel. One sip of wine

is left in her glass. Chrys never tried wine.
She asks her mom for a sip. “Not today,
you’re too young.” The whole house smells like fire.
“My cup’s empty, can I have some more juice?”
“There’s no more grape juice – how does blue
Kool-aid sound?” Chrys smiles. They say she’s a mirror

image of her mom. Her mom collects mirrors.
Chrys likes to look at them, and the wine
glasses in the cabinet. The tall blue
one is her favorite. A few days
ago, her mom let her drink some grape juice
from that glass, she recalls, never noticed the fire.

II.
Her mom opens windows to let the fire
smell out and the window pane, a mirror,
shows her face again. She thinks of her wine
getting stale in the glass, and of the juice
she hasn’t poured yet for Chrysalis. Her days,
she thinks, are stale and unpoured like the blue

Kool-aid. She has daymares of turning blue,
drowning, and one of catching on fire,
burning to nothing. She hopes that one day
She will be able to look in the mirror
without having lurid reveries. She pours juice
and thinks of the time she had too much wine.

A man forced fire between her legs and the mirror
In the corner showed wine spilled like juice,
stained white carpet. Metamorphosis one blue day