Interlude: Poetry as Butterfly

brown and white swallowtail butterfly under white green and brown cocoon in shallow focus lens Photo by Pixabay on

Each curl of wool that has grown
this year has cupped sorrow.
Each pinning of ice
on a cold line, has evoked rue.
and I’m guessing yours.

Then you swirled in
like a skylark
from a blue cloud. Jazz
and the offering
of invisible bread.
What a surprise I thought
while you danced
with your wings flapping
on the rim of my nose.

Once, I found you
under the mirrored scale
of a fish, then folded
like a letter in the chalky pith
of a mandarin.
You pooled on the silt path,
a mirror cupping
a phosphorescent moon.

You became my surprise,
my friend who sung in measures
of pearl.

With you, hats dissolved
into azure clouds.

I chased you
flying through the air
with a wheel between my hands,
and meters of silvery air
beneath my feet.

I think I was looking down
the mechanical neck.
But it was you
whom I seized
and flew with, sideways
wing in arm, dancing the tango
slipping into the wind—
tearing it open
like the thinnest paper.

You were the dream I had
as a child,
the running water, the music
of yes,
a dream of indigo night
and milk-teeth dipped
in gold.

I ran across wet grass
with you around my neck—
you, as soft as rice.

Do you remember
how together we traced
the circumference of sand,
the lucid rim
of an eye, the base of a beaker
filled with amber light?

I pour you now
into the open lips
of my future,
into each blank hemisphere
of my book.

I will hold you
like soap
between fingers
laced together
like a fragile nest.
I will tap you
gently against a window
that has not been cleaned
for years.

Heather Tillery has been a runner up for the AWP Intro Awards, and a finalist for a prize at Fishtrap Writers Conference. She is a deep believer of the wisdom of the natural world and enjoys weaving her personal narrative with that of the earth. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, with her husband and three daughters.

Appears In

Issue 16

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