“Invertebrate” By Jacqueline Chan


Poem by Jacqueline Chan

Art by Paphada Chantrakul

The word is invertebrate –
spineless, columnless, boneless
creature bound by shell.

I often wonder
if I slip out of
my pericarp skin
whether I will fall apart.

Maybe slowly, like rancid fruit,
my insides will first collapse;
then I will have everything
strewn about like the slops
from bits of an afterbirth.

or maybe I will
still operate as
the invertebrate moves
without vertebral columns
without the façade of competence
or bravery, or vanity
free from the binds of structure
format or system
by the trappings
of shell.

The invertebrate –
structure-less, bind-less, fear-less –
ventures the earth,
the perilous journey
of life.

Roams in the open –

                     at             large,

in             the             vast             universe