Ode to Butterflies

In second grade, we hatched butterflies
because what better way to learn than to experience

They arrived as larvae
these small slimy things that looked cold to the touch
A while later, they had become these hungry fuzzy things that were just as unappealing
but in time, we were told, they would be beautiful

So here’s to this transformative wonder
this insignificant thing turned symbol of beauty
turned lighter than air and thinner than paper pastel pallet
that dances against blue canvas
Here’s to reminding me on the days I feel lowest
that I too will fly
I will dance with feet not made from lead
I will walk with a grace I’ve never known before

In fourth grade, we visited the butterfly garden at a nature center
“Look, but don’t touch” they warned us
“Their wings are delicate” I told my campers years later
Still as the lake waters, with eyes just as big
They watched them fly
I watched them fly
and thought about how monarchs migrate further than I’ll ever walk
and with wings like pieces of brightly colored tissue paper on Christmas

Here’s to a creature so fragile a spring shower could kill it
might render this thing immobile
To something more fragile than Sainte Chapell’s stained glass
and just as luminescent in the late spring sun
Here’s clarifying that fragile is not weak
that endurance pays off
that the light at the end of this tunnel may be so far it’s out of sight
but there’s still something worth living for at the end

Here’s to that fluttering in my stomach
a restlessness that I can’t seem to soothe
the one that gives me shaky hands in exchange for my tongue
and fills my mind with things I don’t need
Here’s to that other restlessness
the one manifests in impulsivity
had me dye my hair and wander city streets
Here’s to that same fluttering in my stomach
but paired with a heart that skips like I did in summertime
Something that reminds me that I am still very much alive,
alive and capable of loving and being loved
that reminds me that I can still feel something besides fear
Here’s to the fluttering in my heart and my stomach, my mind and my soul, that is fear
because at least I still care enough to worry
to want to be safe
because I can still feel the anxiety of an empty house
or the thrill of a rollercoaster

Here’s to something
so easily overlooked
but impossible to ignore
but with a presence that commands a silence greater still
Here’s to something
I didn’t think I could love
Here’s to being proven wrong
Here’s to the butterflies
Here’s to me

After the Fire Rolls Through
The First Time I Saw it Rain