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
of a creature made from wings.
They stare blindly into summer,
into birds’ faces and brief coupling:
wrapped and torn from summer;
our longing snatching at their fall.
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.
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?