Here is a little poem I wrote about the curiosity I had over a butterfly which appeared one afternoon in the middle of summer, dead, just outside our screen door. Its wings were spread to show its bright pattern. I don’t know how it died, and it led me to wonder about insects dying in the middle of their lifecycle, like anything else. I tend to think of them living a given amount time and dying the same way batteries do, or cell phones, with a sort of expiration date, perhaps with the change of seasons and in a certain location, dying once their purpose is complete. Anyway, the poem is not exactly about that. It’s more or less my reaction to the sight of this natural thing, showing up suddenly, and still displaying its beauty though deceased.

A falling Monarch butterfly 

is mistaken for a maple leaf.

This one died in flight.

It’s wings hemmed 

the way fine skin

forms on a bowl

of tomato soup, open

where it lies

on it’s thorax, 

Mexico gone to twilight.

It died from eyes

that never saw it flutter,

never saw it float

-those of us on this side

of town  

wander blind to insects 

dying as martyrs.  Of course.

My stomach growls

and my eyes wobble, looking

for a reason to walk outside

in my socks.  This is it.

I want to see

this Monarch that died unknown,

wings a quilt

like it died in a frost

on landscaping rocks,

beneath a pattern 

bright as fire

that silently burns 

on the stones.

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