The Poetry of Mary K O'Melveny




This was going to be a poem

about hope’s power. Of emergence

from our weeks in sheltered spaces,

transformed to newer selves. 


Healed, our imaginations ran wild.

Our shells melted, turned rainbow-hued,

translucent scales unfolded, stretched.

Lifted from retreat, how we soared.


But I am writing from my tent

in Idlib, Syria. Shared by

three families, our cocoons are

cobalt blue sheets of thin plastic.

All we see here is mud or dirt. 

I stand in daily water lines,  

imagine which body part can be

washed once my tin jug is filled.


More queues form when medics arrive.  

Like our neighborhoods, barrel bombs 

transmuted our hospitals to dust.

Despite our pasts, we seek healing. 


Prayers are as fragile here as

butterflies. Once I saw a False

Apollo resting on a rock.

Its wings were black and white, dots


of royal blue, eye spots of russet.

I tried to imagine how it might

mimic its mythic namesake.

How it might soar like a poem.





"Chrysalis/Poem" was first published by Lightwood Press

on March 19, 2021

my . artist run website