I went out to pick the parsley for dinner-and there your were.
With nine siblings I guess
Do eggs count as siblings?
After a few days, you were all suddenly large and striped. Then fat. And green and yellow and black.
Together you devoured my parsley, so I bought more and put it in a vase that I buried in the garden to trick you.
You all fell for it and soon ate all of that too.
Your siblings sought new places after a bit. I found a few of them among the mint and the daisies…though it took awhile.
Little, hidden bundles in which a miracle transformation would take place.
But despite their efforts at safety, their green shelters disappeared.
Predators I suppose.
So I took you and 3 others and put you in a box with parsley and sticks. I cut and covered the sides with old screen.
I hoped I might be so lucky to witness the miracle.
The smallest one died.
But you and your siblings did what you did, and before long you were hidden too.
They broke free after a time. Beautiful-Perfect wings. Yellow, blue, orange and black. Miracle!
When I found them in the morning they were slamming into the screens I put up, desperate to get into the world and take wing.
Angry, anxious, urgent.
But you stayed a bit longer in your quiet chamber. Every day I checked for signs of your emergence and when you began to quiver and break free–I stepped away. It seemed too intrusive to watch you come into new life.
Your wings were wrinkled and misshapen. When you tried to jolt them into giving you freedom, they proved too heavy for you and you ended up laying on them while your longs legs punched angrily at the top of the box.
Hours later, the same thing. Horribly small wings, like intricately decorated crushed tissue–and those wiry legs cursing the sky.
When I had let your siblings go, they took flight quickly, but then as if it were too much too soon, they each stopped to pause, to test the wings and feel the wind before leaving to flit among the flowers. But you had no way of holding yourself upright. Your wings failed to grow. You would not fly. Would not taste the milk and honey, would not land among the promised land of lavender and sunflower and echinacea.
So I took you to the purple flowers in the pot on the porch, the ones that looked like bells.
And I carefully pulled a stem down and put it in front of you. So you could taste life. Like your siblings did.
And as if refreshed with a new strength, you tried again to make your wings work and to stand tall on your stilt legs. When you fell again, I righted you and propped you up under your new violet canopy, hoping you could at least feel the breeze and sense the world beyond the pot.
For three days I bent the stem to you and righted you so you could hold on to it’s green fuzz while you tasted life. Your probiscus worked eagerly your antennae reaching, touching, feeling all the life you could take in.
When I found you that 4th morning, laying still in the pot on your crumpled wings, your legs unmoving, I buried you in the garden near the parsley plant where we first met.
The sheer force of your tiny self, your short, small, struggling life, your beautiful, horrible wings, your screaming legs and your willingness to take what I offered still captivates me to this day. You tried and tried to be who you were made to be.
And I hope that our during our encounter here on earth, I gave you some small comfort in those purple flowers.
Maybe just a tiny taste, of what it was,
to be a butterfly.