May 14, 2015

The Butterfly

He’s dressed like a big-game hunter,
but he’s looking for butterflies;

finding them too – a flutter of small blue
copulating among the clover.

Angling his shot and adjusting his lens,
he captures the moment.

Later he’ll transform the photographs
into paintings – gentle watercolours,

pale as his blue eyes. Yet, until we spoke,
I’d not realized he was so old – frail

as a brown fritillary – trembling,
struggling to hold the camera steady.

He says he comes here often: the habitat’s
second to none. I know – I live here.

Drawing the curtains that night,
I startle a painted lady at rest in the folds.

Later, half-slipping into sleep, I sense
the safety and warmth of her refuge;

remember a childhood game of ghosts
and the sanctuary under the covers;

picture a boy with a butterfly net
scaling the cliffs in search of a dream.

Carolyn King

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