Butterfly

.

I

Red paper muscled with wind;

the scrape of trees is thick with bodies

.

as though light is the country

borne by summer.

.

Butterflies are fierce

with painted eyes, disguising

.

the fragility

of a creature made from wings.

.

They stare blindly into summer,

into birds’ faces and brief coupling:

.

perpetual falling

wrapped and torn from summer;

our longing snatching at their fall.

.

II

At night there are none.

.

They have crept – wings dragging –

into dry places.

.

They coat their eyes with dust

for protection against the moisture

.

that could glue their wings

with our gravity.

.

They are flat against trees,

bark bodies watching our torches.

.

They are beating their bodies with moths

against the sharp edge of light jewels.

.

They have left all together:

the dark is emptied of paper eyes.

.

III

How does the caterpillar

wrap flesh into light?

.

Do wings grow inside like seeds

and fruit from the spine

(legs and belly a broken husk)?

.

Does the changeling retain its nervous system,

its memories of earth?

.

Will the butterfly carry her phantom limbs?

.

And where can we find the material

necessary for wings?