In Praise of Obscurity by Jenna Le

In Praise of Obscurity

Most caterpillars
are green

so, as they feast
on leafage,

they are, to keen
beaked killers,

all camouflaged,

The types of moths
with grass-hued youths

number at least

The cabbage looper’s
one: lean

and long, a proper
string bean,

its larva creeps
through heaps

of foliage, screened
from sight

of those fat dames
who preen

their tan legs’ sheen
by forest-light.


Jenna Le ( is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011), A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017), an Elgin Awards Second Place winner, voted on by the international membership of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, and Manatee Lagoon (forthcoming from Acre Books, October 2022). She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s inaugural sonnet competition. Her poems appear in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and West Branch. A daughter of Vietnamese refugees, she has a B.A. in math and an M.D. and works as a physician in New York City.

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