By Butterfly Wings
Allie Marini Batts
Anastasia’s face is a soft canvas of powder and pigment: in measured brushstrokes, there is alchemy, where pale eyelids transform into the jewel toned wings of butterflies. With an onyx rake, her lashes spider out and cast shadows like nets over cheekbones that climb higher and more angular, like the rise of a mountain vista. Ruby red as a fairy tale, her lips tension like the strings and riser on the bow of Cupid, crimson as myth. Anastasia’s skin is tattoo ink and fabric: leather, lace, silk. Delicate nylon; stockings floating from garter snaps and a belt that’s supposed to be hidden, but isn’t. Vanity or immodesty; becoming as a wing breaking free from the chitin glass of a chrysalis. Cold cream, linseed oil, turpentine, wash. Sunlight through stained glass in the late afternoon. Throwing strokes of the spectrum like bright shadows that slide from saturated to watercolor before diluting into colorlessness again. The water runs clear as glass without a wave behind it, breaking blue. She undresses and cocoons herself in sheets, white and soft as a canvas. The night is a dark secret, like what happens to the imago between caterpillar and the tentative test of wings unfurling. Across the expanse of oceans and continents, a butterfly lights and lands on the surface of a mirror. Anastasia shifts in her sleep; the fluttering of wings. The tinkle of stained glass coiling down the drain like water running clear again. The winds kick up and weave between pressurized bands. A hurricane, when she wakes.
Allie Marini Batts is an MFA candidate at Antioch University of Los Angeles, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for the Nonbinary Review of Zoetic Press and has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review, and The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of the poetry chapbooks, “You Might Curse Before You Bless” (ELJ Publications, 2013), “Unmade & Other Poems” (Beautysleep Press, 2013), and “This Is How We End” (forthcoming 2014, Bitterzoet). Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMarini.