Boy and Butterfly



He’s been insulted, spat at, knocked down.

He’s turned the other way, wiped himself clean,

raised himself up from the ground.


It’s August and he’s crossing a field at the edge

of the woods, stopping now and then to kneel,

sniff a wildflower, observe the intricate rituals

of insects, the instinct for survival that seems so familiar.


“Fag” the other kids call him.

He looks in the mirror. Is it obvious?

How can they know what I don’t?

And if true, is it a blessing?

Or will it ruin my life?

And how many others are the same as me?

Was I born like this? Or was it something

I caught? An infection? Or a book I read?

And can courage exist when the body is weak?


He’s been waiting for someone. A Damon

to his Pythias. Instead, he finds a butterfly.

It balances gently on his fingertip.






Nobody knows

and yet,

as many times

as they deem necessary,

the words of others

continue to pretend

they have the lowdown

on what is happening inside me.


I’m clean out of body language.

My face is no clue.

Yet they read into me

what is going on with themselves.


I say nothing.

I don’t even think about anything.

But there’s other voices in the room,

other minds setting aside

some of their own notions

and referring to them as mine.


They figured out what’s best for me.

It sounds remarkably like

what’s best for them.