There are those who come in, eyes wide, mouths open,
enchanted by the colours and delighted by the flurry of wings.
They gently spread their hands out, entreating the butterflies to land on them,
carefully treading the cobbled path, terrified they might step on one.
There are those who, just as delighted, ignore the clearly stated rules
and run on the path, climb on the rock, chase and charge through the butterflies,
eager to catch them, hold them,
just to touch them and see if those vibrant colours are real.
In their eagerness, they don’t notice the butterflies
perching under their feet.
[panel of butterfly getting squished]
And there are those who could care less about the fragility
of this tiny world
and tear off the leaves, pick off petals, playing wack-a-mole with the butterflies on the ground,
leaving behind a trail of dislodged wings and crushed bodies.
STAY ON THE PATH
DON’T TOUCH THE BUTTERFLIES
I gently scrape their remains off the pavement
scoop up clumps of mangled bodies,
sticky legs trembling, wings hopelessly fluttering.
I slowly carry them to the Butterfly Morgue
hushing them quietly as they spasm, telling them it will be alright,
apologizing before I lay them down with the others.
After a day of frantically scooping up butterflies before they get crushed,
whispering dozens of ‘rest in peace’ s
and losing my voice
I sit down,
hands covered with wing dust
and am finally still enough
for the butterflies to land on me.
[panel of self quietly smiling as butterfly lands, while people gather around in awe, and others are still running around in the background]