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.
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.