The Butterfly Poem

This is a poem about how we all get it wrong some­times. I per­formed it at the poetry slam; first people didn’t like it but then they clapped.


I woke one morn­ing and found
That my girl­friend was a
But­ter­fly.
Her amber autumn wings were
Crumpled against the
Guest futon
And she opened one scin­til­lat­ing
Onyx eye and looked at the watch
And said ‘That’s the time? I must be a
But­te­fly’ and brushed the sleep
From her abdo­men
With our doona.
I made tea.

She took longer in the shower
Than your aver­age but­ter­fly
And used up all the hot water.
I drank the tea.
She devoured the gardenias
And my favour­ite rose.
‘So that’s it, then?’ I asked,
As she got out of my
Old grey t-shirt, which she had made
Soft by being a but­ter­fly,
‘So that’s it – you’re dump­ing me?’
‘Yes’, she said, and it was rain­ing
So hard out­side it soun­ded like
Butterflies.

She took a long time get­ting
Out the win­dow because her legs
Were like spindly razors and
I cried into my tea and drank my tea and
And didn’t help.
And then she was gone,
And it was like the house
Had never had a but­ter­fly
In it.

Next time I saw her, she was
On the back of a motor­cycle,
Wings thrust­ing
Through the gale, scream­ing like a
But­ter­fly and clutch­ing one of those
Dicks
With two heads and no brain.

Then she lost a wing in a
Mortein dis­aster and the doc­tors said
She’d never fly again, so I came to visit
With my neighbour’s favour­ite rose.
I said how are you? and she
Shrugged and I knew she hadn’t always
Been a but­ter­fly so I said
Were you a cater­pil­lar
Once and she said
Yes, once, she said
When I was dat­ing you and I said
Was it bad and she said
You don’t know any bet­ter
When you’re a cater­pil­lar and closed
The jet dis­co­balls of her lumin­ous
Eyes.

A month later I got with a
Cicada and I hear it takes years
Till they leave the lar­val stage so per­haps
We’ll buy a house in Gunghalin
And raise some kids
Before she goes.

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