the flutter of a butterfly’s wings
last saturday, i poured faucet droplets into a pond so i could watch the ripples and
this week, it caused a tsunami and i swear i’m sorry sorry sorry
there’s a chrysalis of hourglass sand staring right at me and i dare not
try to heat it up and turn it into glass because i know what the shards will do but
there’s a tree in the backyard that i fell from and broke my wrist and i wonder
if the person who planted its seed would give me a splint of apologies
silver caterpillar on the kitchen counter: would you tell me what it means?
when a tornado breaks your heart, does the cocoon help you breathe?
i jumped into converse sneakers, ran out the door with a backpack, and
i sprinted to the eye of the hurricane just so i could use it to see
the wings of a butterfly are paper thin, yet their gentle flutter commands the wind
the past is the past, but if you don’t rinse your sins, at the end of the day, the clock still spins
i slipped and snuffed out the dining-room candle, and next saturday, a wildfire came
and all the pretty little blue delicate butterflies mocked me as they brought the rain
i looked into a crystal ball and saw a kaleidoscope of milkweed fields
pupae rested on every leaf and warned me: little girl, don’t you tamper with the future just yet
so i shut my eyes and ran to the garden and waited for the butterfly effect butterfly effect
i knelt in front of a dead butterfly and prayed
a while ago, i buried a butterfly,
kowtowed in front of a temple, and
pretended like i knew how to pray.
finger joints aching from the cold,
crescent moons branded into my knuckles,
i begged guanyin for a new life and
sacrificed the ashes of my family photos to her
using her bitter saké as a disinfectant,
i drank bottoms-up to cleanse my throat of broken glass and
sat on my knees and
waited for the
i killed my past lives by felling them with
paperweights and violin strings.
those butterfly bodies had my face.
i want to bury them and
bleed the stardust from their wings so they
don’t look pretty anymore.
like a broken proboscis wound into sickly
vocal cords, crushed thoraxes
screaming with a voice that sounds like
my own, i drop the butterfly as it
stings my palm,
so i pray, again.
how do i do i forget my own face? how do i stop these
repulsive pieridae from cursing my tomorrow?
i tried to suture the infested splits in my throat, but they only close with
concrete tears and self love, no worries
i just have to reinvent myself until
i'm worthy of such things.
i coughed out a million fluttering ghosts yesterday.
damn those naive little things; i shot them down one by one until they
pooled by my ankles.
please, can someone lay me down in front of that church
and exorcise these butterflies from my body,
so that i can forget who i was yesterday?
stupid, there are chrysalides hanging in the cracks of my psyche.
if they were maggots instead, then
i wouldn’t grieve—
i wouldn’t grieve for a dead childhood.
my throat is closed up with butterflies and
i’m sorry, mom, dad;
i can’t remember why you love me.
i pour baijiu over my wounds again and
light an incense stick.
save me from my own demons;
it seems that my body is in dire need of a
gods don’t listen to those who don’t believe.
i guess you aren’t supposed to ask them to love you when
you can’t do it yourself.
a butterfly scalds my fingertip and just like that
their bodies stack in my bedroom, looking like torn up
mourning clothes. it
hurts to look at them and it hurts to
think back to what could’ve been and it hurts to imagine that
i could've been better.
so for the last time, i close my eyes and
clasp my hands together.
o’ beautiful future
why do you keep killing butterflies? and how do i become
something you won’t regret?
of course, there was no answer, so my body wrote their own instructions.
so maybe i could finally breathe without dying the walls of my house
one day i’ll send them fluttering away.
o’ future self
don’t hold your breath;
i want to pick you apart until
hold open your mouth and
let the butterflies fly out.
then, i promise that i'll
grow you into something i can finally be
waiting for metamorphosis
you envy the butterflies.
they bathe in dewdrops instead of poison & spread their pearly wings, catching the light [is there still light? you thought light was a thing of the past]. they’re immune to ghetto shadows & barbed wire cannot contain them. you wish to fly, to heaven, since you’re already in hell.
you watch the crowds thin.
it seems inevitable, as shoes & ragged coats pile up in the corner, never to be worn again [the butterflies pick through the remains, sifting through the ashes]. you finger pebbles and wait. you wait for a gust of wind to blow you away, but all that comes are the visions of the pink ladies & monarchs. you imagine your dirt-caked fingernails are chrysalises, waiting to burst at the seams with hope and color. life remains bleak and fleeting.
you know hope is futile
& you scrape butterfly musings into stone walls [not for hope or faith, because optimism won't help now] & kiss their wings & stroke their antennae. nothing matters anymore; you'll either metamorphise or wish you did. the butterflies are proof that something lies beyond [because no iron-clad soldier would scatter blue morphos & swallowtails]. you hope to shed your emaciated body like a cocoon; you hope to leave misery & roam in the place where butterflies prevail [because when butterflies die they lay piecefully in the dew instead of in pieces]. & when the butterflies come to lift you away, you meet them halfway.
& perhaps ecstasy is fleeting too, but here, the butterflies will watch over you, child, and no one shall make you afraid.
What colors are growing around us,
In the space between our breaths?
heavy wings don't carry
hushed whispers scream
night ticks on forever
like falling in a dream
What colors are growing around us,
In the empty space between our breaths?
My Blue Butterfly
Hey budding butterfly,
Can you hear me?
Tell me where your home is
And we can have tea!
Hello little butterfly,
So gently you fly
Can you teach me to do so,
And help me touch the sky?
Dear, dear butterfly,
You buzz with glee
What is it you suck from the flowers,
Can I have some for me?
Playing with my hair,
Is that you?
Do tell me butterfly,
Why are you so blue?
Excuse me, butterfly,
I heard you were a worm,
My friends too call me a bookworm
So tell me, how can I transform?
Oh dear butterfly,
No, no, no!
I have much more to ask you,
So please don’t go!
Oh my God! Butterfly,
Where are you now?
If you come to me, flutterfly,
I will promise you with tons of love.
I understand butterfly,
You too have a home.
But come to my window tomorrow,
And together we can roam.
I am six and too young to know better,
all laughter and curiosity and youth,
balancing on my tip-toes as chubby fingers grasp
at the wooden box on a bookshelf,
gazing in awe at the butterfly tucked within.
I am eleven when I open that box again
all cartwheel and sticky summer smile-
a smile that fades when I see the pins.
Needles thrust through my butterfly,
crucifying those gentle wings to a corkboard cross.
I am fifteen when the butterfly's corpse is moved to my bedside table,
and at night I whisper to the box's macabre contents.
We are the same, you and I,
all pins and pain and appearances.
And as I walk out the door I pin up my smile-
for what am I if not a decoration in this box we call Earth?
I am twenty when I throw the box to the ground,
all freedom and broken glass and rage.
There are holes in my wings,
stiff from being pinned to corkboard for too long,
and a dull grey has replaced the blue.
But my worth is not defined by the color of my wings
and one day
I will fly.
On Wings of Metal
You gave me wings of metal
I do my best to fly
Struggle as I will
Too heavy but I try.
You gave me wings of metal
They weigh and pull me down
In a vast sea of betrayal
On the bottom here I drown.
You spread your colored wings
They light up your whole world
As I sit in silver darkness
Forever I am torn.
You take off in the morning
The sun warm in the sky
As I sit here on cold ground
A metal butterfly.
And I drew a heart on your sleeve
the way you wore it when you wiped me off your mouth
in bold vivid I shook out a line
on the damp, crinkled linen of your skin
and you looked like the eyes of a small dog
when they know they have been forgotten
and you broke it into ribbons, you did
i know this
simply because I do
and sweaters won’t keep it warm
not even in winter does the cold
look up from its tears
that run red around your body
i should have drawn a butterfly
instead of drawing inspiration from
like an insipid stream
butterflies don’t break when they taste metal
the soft curve of the mandible
that has chewed the edges of my heart
we share a pair of eyes
but never again
will you let me close enough to finish the forgotten curves of a wing
Butterfly love (repost)
A butterfly’s life, they say
barely as long as a day;
Untrue, I found for it can last
until almost a year has passed.
What of the love that flutters, like butterfly wings in my heart?
It will never part.
My mother had a special bush to attract them,
It had purple flowers, and drooped from the burden.
My mother always had the pretty things in her garden,
And when they flew near,
She would coo and whisper in my ear,
"Look baby! There's a little Flutterby!"
I'd stop my game and look up with a sigh,
To watch a miracle flutter by.
To my one true friend,
Remember that happy things surround us if we stop and look for them.