I Know Why They Stay

04-13 Butterfly

On the bench I sit, in the middle of the park,

frozen in time, while the world bustles around me.

I watch life happen, but don’t dare take part

for I know what many others can’t see.

I spy a young girl, no older than seven or eight,

bouncing toward her weary mother.

She squeals, “good things come to those who wait!”

I see the butterfly perched on her outstretched finger.

As the girl nears the woman sitting beside me,

The butterfly’s damaged wings capture my attention.

“She won’t fly. Doesn’t she realize there’s a world to see?”

Her brow now furrowed, she poses the question.

The mother sets an open magazine upon her lap,

“The butterfly must feel at home on the finger of my sweet girl,”

“Perhaps she’s tired, so she’s decided to take a little nap?”

The response, obvious shelter from the ways of the world.

I avert my gaze, should it betray knowledge of the disappointing truth,

I’m not a butterfly expert, but I know exactly why they stay:

It matters not whether they rest or move,

Death befalls them either way.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

Here’s where I share inspiration for my poetry.  This will be short!  The thought occurred to me that sometimes no matter what I do, the outcome is the same, so why bother.  (I know, that is isn’t very hopeful of me.)  Then, I decided I wanted to write a story poem with that theme.  The butterfly was simply the captured creature of opportunity, as I had a photo that I’d taken a couple years ago during a visit to Shenandoah.

A Sign (Fiction)

09-21 Flower Butterfly

Sharon twisted in the recliner, the springs squeaking under her repositioned weight.   The steady beep of the monitor echoed in the room, same as it had before she dozed off. She stood and stretched her back before taking two steps to the bed. She brushed some strands of dark hair from her friend’s pale forehead and paused when she thought she saw Crista’s eyelids flutter. After a full minute with no response, Sharon decided it must’ve been a spasm.  Or her own wishful thinking.  Exhausted, she slumped into the chair and closed her eyes.

For nearly a month, Sharon had spent her afternoons at the hospital, tethered by worry and guilt. The surreal replay of that night ran through her mind whenever silence crept in. They had been out celebrating the night before Terry’s wedding. They had reached the first club safely. It happened on the way to the second club. The details, like much of her adult life, were fuzzy, but she remembered the commingled sounds of screams and shattering glass- and the numbing shock of the steering wheel slamming against her face. She swallowed hard, willing her lunch to not make a second appearance. Since that night, she hadn’t had even one drink; marking her longest “dry” spell since high school. Too little, too late.

“Butterfly.”

Sharon gasped and scrambled to her feet when she saw her friend’s eyes open and her arms stretched outward. She rubbed her shoulder. “I’m right here,” she whispered. She pressed the call button to summon the nurse.

Crista closed her eyes and mumbled, “I want to be flowers.”

Sharon furrowed her brow, clueless how to respond. She noticed the daisies on the table next to the bed and wondered if that’s what she spoke about. “The daisies are beautiful.”

Her arms remained outstretched, rigid.

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Broken

07-31 Butterfly

Damaged by

Living life;

Carried by

Tattered, imperfect wings.

Pausing…

Reflecting…

Before

Moving on;

Nature nurtures the spirits of

The battered and broken.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

I took this butterfly photo in Shenandoah National Park (Virginia.)  I stalked butterflies during our entire trip, but as I zoomed in on this one, I noticed that the wings looked torn.  This butterfly rested longer than others I’d seen.  The others would tease me.  They would linger just long enough to catch my eye…then flutter away, often before I had a chance to focus.  Even with its obvious imperfection, I marveled at its beauty.

We observed from a distance, then let it be; reluctant to interrupt nature’s course.