The Chrysalis

August 14, 2020




The Chrysalis

                                                                  a folk tale


My blood comes back to me in steel


drums/heaving rolls of skin like felled


             trees lifted to me on hydraulic arms.


             My body a glove of skin shed


to bleed new, and from everywhere


a legion of hands begin my reconstruction.


              Sit wait shift weight


              don’t stick to the earth


before each raw inch can be reskinned.


There is a room deep in the house for no


              one/no thing but a mechanical whisper


              birthed into the ducts, barrels of blood


kept spinning. Deeper still


is a room damp and dank as the purple


              jungle night, stockpiles of skin kept misted


              and crisp like market produce.


Each day I am degloved/re-


skinned, pumped back full—





Sam Stokley is a disabled artist and educator from Peoria, IL living in Minneapolis, teaching creative writing through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. A 2019 finalist for BOAAT Press' and Driftwood Press' chapbook prizes, and a 2020 semifinalist for the Tomaž Šalamun Prize, Sam's writing can be found now and soon inside Barrelhouse, The Arkansas International, Brevity, Fairy Tale Review, Poetry City, and other homes. Sam was born and lives with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Follow him on IG @bovinii.


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