Three Poems by Teow Lim Goh -The Toast

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Butterfly Pavilion

I stand before the cocoons, waiting
for a twitch in the shells, a crack revealing
a colorful wing. There are none.

The cocoons are pinned
to cork boards, each dangling
from its tip, ordered
by species and country of origin.

Some look like snails.
Some look like tiny black bugs.
Some are the green of the first leaves of spring.

Nothing today.

I turn to the butterflies
around me, broken
out of their shells, dotting the forest
with their bright colors.

They flit from flowers to leaves, pause
on branches, their legs arched,
their wings folded. Once

they lift their wings, they launch into flight.

In the Woods

By the moonlight we can see
the trail ahead of us,

the tips of pines
grasping at the stars.

But we keep stubbing
our toes on the rocks, trip

on tree roots
gnarled into hooks.

And those noises –
mountain lions, or our imaginations?


Neither of us knows the stars.

You think you see
the Milky Way, a brush of glitter
in the obsidian of night.

I think I see Orion, specks
of light – or is that a satellite?

In stars
we navigate the dark. In constellations
we tell stories

about the stars. Those
who know the lore can use them
to find their way

in the world. But I cannot seem
to remember.

Teow Lim Goh's debut book of poetry, Islanders -- on the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station -- is forthcoming from Conundrum Press in April 2016. She lives in Denver.

Jen May is an artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Her website is somewhat regularly updated with new work.

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