(Myrmeconema neotropicum worm to the Cephalotes atratus ant)


They ask what’s the point—a life cycle

bookended by shit, all for a vacation inside

your black and shiny body.


But hasn’t everyone wanted to be

someone else for a while? Smudged

the line between enchanted and enchained?


Instead, ask what I wouldn’t give

to trade my unremarkable white smoothness

for your coppery strength,


your thorned and devilish charm,

and the ability to fly—just briefly—

grasped in the safety of your body.


I really am sorry my presence

curdles your defenses, thins your tough armor

to this useless linament layer,


a barely-there barrier

between me and the fantasy

of what it’s like to be you.


If there were another way, I’d take it.

I’d leave you tough and uneaten.

I’d leave you flying.


*Written by Elizabeth Vignali 

Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Willow Springs, Crab Creek Review, Nimrod, Floating Bridge Review, and Menacing Hedge. Her chapbook, Object Permanence, is available from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Bellingham, Washington with her daughters, a venerable Chihuahua, and two geriatric cats.

Kami Westhoff’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including Meridian, Phoebe, Third Coast, Carve, Sundog Lit, decomp, The Pinch, Passages North, Redivider, and West Branch. Her chapbook, Sleepwalker, won Minerva Rising’s Dare to Be Contest in 2016. She teaches Creative Writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.