PoetryIssue 06 | August 2009

Two poems by Ingrid Steblea

After Pleasure Island

In Singapore he rides the cable car to Sentosa,
the Island of Tranquility, the pleasure island.
He tours Butterfly Park, marveling at the painted wings

of Lepidoptera. On the wings of a hawk moth from Madagascar
there is a pattern that looks like a grasshopper’s head.
Primary-colored butterflies cling upside down to leaves,

vibrant, dangling like a woman’s earrings.
In one corner a chrysalis depends from a plant stem.
He gazes at it, wondering at a creature that could wrap itself in silk

and emerge transformed. It is something like a mummy
in an old horror movie stepping out of a creaking sarcophagus,
or else Christ pushing the stones from his tomb on the third day.

Or else Osiris, or Lazarus arising at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
The Native American ghost dances, the phoenix, and Persephone’s
half-death each year. He scratches his chin and stares at his reflection

staring back at him from the butterflies’ glass terrarium.
He studies the tourists with their cameras. He looks down
at his hands, his tanned arms with their fine blond hair.

That night at the youth hostel, he takes the white sheets from the bed
and wraps himself in them. He lies with his eyes closed, imagining a Y-shaped
incision across his chest, its edges the luminescent outline of a pair of wings.

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About the author

Long before Ingrid Steblea settled in the beautiful Happy Valley area of western Massachusetts, she and her husband and son traveled across the continental US by car. Ingrid’s poetry has appeared in Poem, Rattle, The Seattle Review, The Southern Anthology, and other journals, and she was the featured poet in the December 2008 edition of ouroboros review.  She leads an online writers group and is currently working on a novel.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok