Now you have come out of yourself,
removed your skin, my mother,
my changeling, who has known
so many selves, so many shapes.

Now you have come from yourself,
my mother, my pupa, emerging
from the chrysalis, my changeling,
saved from the caw, the drunken froth.

Can you truly have forgotten
what you were before—can memory
be such a perfect hiding place—
now your wings, tattered, torn?

When I followed you up
the flowered staircase, the sound
of the Antiguan waves around us,
like a lullaby held us, cradled

together, date palms above.
Somehow you held the railing.
What is it that shook you?
Once an old shrew crooning

over your froth, now a fairy queen
quiet and serene. Flip, flop, now
you see it, now you do not, like
a butterfly gone mad, the chrysalis

sewn back on, backwards,
sometimes upside down, leaving
what was inside to atrophy, starve.
In these last years, you return

peek-a-boo, we see you, relieved
that once again you can join us
even though part of you yearns
for madness, and part resents

our strict refusal to allow you
to run away, sirens of the underneath
under sleep—calling, calling
you back to them, their rhythmic

bodies slender and undulant, beaming
for you to enter the uncovered avenue
where the sun shines viciously,
fox with its fur so thick.

I want to leave the burial
to cover my face in the warmth
of your red fur, but I know you will
run. The fox has become you.





Margo Taft Stever’s full-length collections include The End of Horses (Broadstone Books, 2022), winner of a 2023 NYC Big Book Award (Distinguished Favorite) and a 2022 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award; Cracked Piano (CavanKerry Press, 2019), honorable mention for the 2021 Eric Hoffer Award Grand Prize; and Frozen Spring, 2002 Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry. Her latest chapbook, Ghost Moose, was published by Kattywompus Press in 2019. She is founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center, where she served as director and board chairperson from 1983-2000, and founder of Slapering Hol Press, where she served as co-editor from 1989 to 2024. For additional information, visit

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