From the Beginning

By: Riley Strait

Pause, and capture me how I am now:
wrap me up in the minute we just lived:

make me your mosquito in amber –
ephemeral in life, eternal in death.

Freeze and pin me to your little brother’s trifold –
turn me into grade-school, spelling-test vocab:

colorful, iridescent, delicate
(you can skip over dead).

If I jumped down your throat,
would you birth me again?

Would you swaddle me like a newborn,
and this time – maybe – I can get it right?

On second thought, leave me there: born again,
given a second chance – just to let it rot, ferment.

But don’t throw me out for wildlife to get drunk on.
Store me in oak and let me live out my life there.

Let my family pull me down from the top shelf,
some forgotten spirit, and get drunk with grief.

Let them run a thumb over my waxy name
and postulate where I might have landed.

While drunk on me, you can
view me under a flattering light.

So if you would be so kind: swallow me, birth me again.
Then juice me before I blacken with breath of our earthly air.

Whatever you do, don’t let me grow up – because
I’m not sure I could even get it right a second time.