by J.B. Stone
After Anne Sexton’s “Briar Rose”
When you crawled out of your pod, slinked unto the branches: a newborn insectoid, exploring the earth eons ago, you were told you would rise into a throne of horns, inherit a royal flush of beetle-bodied knighthood. Suspended, resting softly in your slumber, unaware your cocoon became an open coffin. Slowly devolving into a fossil as the rest of the earth around you did the opposite, as you laid wreathed in a tomb of ancient sap, your holy kingdom shrank, and shrank, and shrank. The world learns to forget about this wonder, this Thumbelina chrysalis that captures the slipstream of a time before humanity. A distant time when the only life that roamed was a populace of tennis shoe-sized creatures who built castles out of dun-splattered driftwood and fortresses out of mossy stone. You left your life on pause, only to watch us reap the flowers you helped sow, to rip out the roots of the trees you once called castle, and left you preserved, only to be objectified. Only to be an item in someone else’s collection rather than a palace of your own design.
J.B. Stone is the author of Fireflies & Hand Grenades (Bottlecap Press 2022). He is the Editor-In-Chief/Reviews Editor at Variety Pack and a Reader at Uncharted Magazine. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Magazine, BULL, Crack the Spine, among other places. He tweets @JB_StoneTruth.
Photograph of amber via depositphotos, ID 39288957.