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SAM STOKLEY | The Chrysalis

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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