Last August I Watched a Butterfly


One day last August I stood and watched

a butterfly

slowly die.

Blinking yellow wings could hardly tear the blue sky,

itself brushing back expectorant tears that never came;

it cannot rain in Santa Monica in August.

Heart like the homework I once dropped in a puddle

the day my best friend unclasped our lives apart

beside the gray stucco. Soggy, that is, crumpled deadweight,

yet wisping

into the air like butter melting,


I stood and watched it struggle, a rolling topaz marble

the big blue bruise had fumbled,

clattering all ways – north and right – yet reaching no


A stoic fall: the butterfly,

fair-mannered insect, has no cry.

Fishnet-kept by chicken wire,

snorted by the SUV huffing towards Souliers,

only I was there to watch this flicker grasp

for air and


a twinkling of bells

with tongues cut out, chasing

the glissando to the end of a waterfall

only to find a gaunt cheek where tears should have been pooling

but instead whispered wrinkle cream rivulets down into the dirt, left



In my last August there was

a butterfly. I

stood and watched it die.


Image credits in order of appearance:

By Juliobh1105 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Carl Spitzweg – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain,


3 thoughts on “Last August I Watched a Butterfly

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