September 2021

Back to Issue 10


By Jane Frank

When I can’t see you 

my hands turn to mulberry leaves 

silkworms munch 

rhythmically on my heart- 

shaped fingers  


Has it been 35 days  

in this shoe- 

box? I don’t count but I retch 

each time they molt 

eat, grow fleshier 


peer at me  

with unblinking eyes  

from flaccid Cheshire  

Cat faces backlit 



I prefer the part  

where they encase me in silk  

thread.  I feel strangely close  

to the wife of the Yellow 

Emperor: together 


we drink tea 

It is ‘show and tell’  

so she takes me through  

the lifecycle again 

agrees to spin  


my thread in secret 

the single raw line of me 

is 300 metres long  

I don’t have my glasses here 

but sometimes 


I think I recognise you  

beyond the plastic wrap 

with holes so I can breathe 

but not escape  

along the Silk Road