When they changed their minds,
they changed their forms as well.
Fresh-minted, teneral, a new body—
with new ideas—crept from each
rejected discard. Membranous husks
of former selves wafted sadly
along lonely turnpikes, ghosting
in dying winds, or sagged, deflating,
under NO EGRESS HERE signs.
With each rebirth their exoskeletons
became more heavily armored;
their defense mechanisms more toxic.
Their tongues had a thousand words
for self-improvement, but no words
for guilt, none for regret