“The Changeling of Chaplin, CT” & “Invasive Species” 

by Aaron Pinnix

Note: Page numbers from the print version are indicated in brackets and should not be considered part of the text of the article. 

[page 113] Abstract: I spent fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 in a 200-year-old farmhouse in eastern Connecticut among 140 acres of mixed hardwood forest inhabited by bobcats, coyotes, foxes, flying squirrels, and occasionally a black bear. In addition to my animal neighbors, I was surrounded by the region’s cultures and crafts, with a historic textile industry carried on by local artisans. These experiences guided my poem “The Changeling of Chaplin, CT” as I felt the people and animals around me influence my own thinking and life. On the other hand, “Invasive Species” is very much a poem written about the pandemic and the possibility of infection atop infection, of alien invasion & unintended consequences. 

The Changeling of Chaplin, CT 

The witches of Eastern Connecticut spin thread,

weave fabric, work at looms, blow glass, make jewelry,

bend copper, make wooden bowls, sculpt magic out of raw

materials like hair, bone, and wood. 

Out of such material incantations this world, this glade,

    the last green valley, this story arrives…

Nocturnal flying squirrels rustle among leaves and peering

   through branches see a figure among foxfire fungi’s

bioluminescent green glow performing ablutions, whispering

owl screech, coyote howl, sounds of creeping creatures,

sounds of caught prey as the fish-eyed Moon lies

  everywhere upon the land.

[page 114] 

Into this night I wander, my boots sucking into moss

  when over the next hillock I see zigzag figures

intoning ancient sounds, rendering invocations

and in their midst an earthen prolapse

growing first into floral bud

before bursting open

and within I perceive myself

 reflected, my own tiny movements,

eyes glowing as if lit by two coals

and my breath a record scratch upon the air.

Coming closer, two eyes

  mirroring my eyes:              the other other

and in little small motions, that segue there!

the material incantation takes over, accumulating

throughout this soggy muck. Into my sedimentation:

   flailing change

as the Moon projects fish-eyed upon the whole bosky


  on glowworm chemistry

  & tree frog chorus.

In the morning I find a skin, shed and deposited

on the doorstep.

These bowels, this combustible brain,

  altered, remade,

shadow mice that dart and cleave

  through my interregnum system,

an unctuous organizing and reorganizing,

the myelin sheath pulled back, the electrical stimulus


while from the fissures—eyes peer forth. 

[page 115]

Invasive Species

After the news broke,

the now familiar images of grainy celestial bodies

   moving past Saturn,

I spent the summer in melancholia, wondering about

rebellion & faith, reading Ashbery in the back garden,

   considering what mixed drink to make next.

One feels it most sharply in morning mist stretched taut

between blinks and the last shotput electric light,

   while nearby the world burns, burns.

We all drink too much. My dreams are filled with visions of

maps and back roads, winding tunnels of escape. All my

glass jar homunculi get squirrely, they spit twist and snarl,

while sirens on the streets effectively box us in.

A series of garden parties. Firing for effect,

our cannonballs splash uselessly against pool walls.

   First the alates arrive as winged representatives.

   Then vesicle-encrusted larva rain down in the night.

   Spiral spores fall into the Earth and by morning

   the drones gnash up from the dirt

   like shark fetuses eating each other in the womb.

   Reverberant waves of loneliness

   emit out our apartment windows.

Among abandoned strip malls and gas stations,

derelict and fecund like ancient monuments

in the afternoon’s heavy humidity,

  unknown spores are landing

  and opening across your skin. 

[page 116]

Your face, your perceptions, your appetites, your soul

are now nourished anew, embroidered now by

   intergalactic cordyceps,

by gorgeous ancient alien glitter

   and plumage gown. 

Being witness to invasive species, to hosts, parasites,

and the meandering touch of ecological devastation,


you turn your mycological face

and struggle toward the light. 

Aaron Pinnix is a Postdoctoral Researcher in American Studies at the University of Konstanz in Germany. Recent publications include articles in JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Atlantic Studies, Shima, and forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Ecopoetics. His research is on ocean-focused poetry that conjoins ecological and social justice, and he is currently working on a monograph, Poetry of the Submerged Anthropocene, that examines how contemporary poetry addresses humanity’s effects on underwater life. 

MLA citation (print):

Pinnix, Aaron. "'The Changeling of Chaplin, CT' & 'Invasive Species.'" Supernatural Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Art, Media, and Culture, vol. 8, no. 2, 2022, pp. 113-116.