He says papillon and you want to take
his word for it. The thorax is missing its yellow wing.
What do you say when that happens. Muer. he says. He says you thought it meant
woman. But no, he says, and his chin. The slender proboscis drinks nectar.
Like a straw, you say. Yes, he says. Has one ever fallen on your sweat in summer.
won’t always get enough salt, from flower. The ocean, you think. Alive, he says
they are hidden in tree limbs, mimic the bark. You think: yeah, but the trees here
are rotten and burned. and it looks like a moth, torn. Others, he says, sniff the air for stem.
You want to ask: how many fingers to tear up the butterfly. But you know he’ll say
if they are only children, it does not count. You would smoke from the wingtip
and flame the wing. You say the sun is shot here. Everyone’s on edge. He says
any excuse, you’d trap butterflies in tupperware and ask strangers dumb questions like:
What do you call it when a dead thing’s wing comes off? You say you’d tell someone anyway.
You say you’d get the crying over with. If it was a little girl in dirt, touch her sun-edged hair. Tender
he says, what doesn’t know how to treat limb’s fruit. The same to you. You want the one in the bowl
who has lost her articulated flutter. To stand up to the claws. To fight back. He says, you’d still
snuff it out. Ask any one. You say: your french words make me feel bad. You should ask
if he means it. If he means papillon you. Is he thinking of a dead one. one
that smells of fennel. What would he have called it when he was a boy
in the dirt. tearing wings in the dirt. He says, well then. then, who do we blame.