Several days ago, I saved a butterfly.
My body was elevated on bicycle named Heleanore. I used to listen to music with tiny black buds of sound bouncing against my eardrums. Then, I got into a slight accident. Now, I sing. I sing songs that are cooked inside my brain and come out of poems or become poems. I sing songs that I hear from radios that pass me by built into cars that pass me by. Without the plugged-in sounds, I hear everything around me.
And, I notice more.
Like this butterfly.
I rode right past it, then………..stopped. Parked bike against sidewalk and went toward it, struggling in the middle of the road. St Johns Place. Somewhere between home and where I came from.
This butterfly was brown. With spots. And of course, illuminating with symmetry. Its wings were almost as large as each of my palms. And its body. Shade of caramel, thick and furry.
There were no cars approaching, so at first, I sat with it. Or, knelt toward the gravel. Perhaps it was taking a break. I often do this when I’ve biked too long and my bones are out of breath. But it was more than just over-extended. There was injury within this insect.
My fingers carefully pinched its wing to lift it up. An elevation. Assisted flight.
Slowly, I brought this butterfly back to the ground, onto the sidewalk, where traffic was minimal and it could be seen.
This is happening more and more. Signs. Creatures. Breathing life silently in an effort to slow down. Look. Approach. Live beyond these lists I swim against and love away from the norm. When I was away, when I was conversing with the mountains, I fell in love. I found openness. I disengaged my chest and hips and jaw and listened to the sound of my body reconfiguring itself. I felt for the almost-invisible string connecting this body and mind.
Sometimes I think of myself as a building. Or a piece of furniture. Sometimes, I am a solo chair, wooden beneath with peeling upholstery. Crooked, with one leg shorter than another. Sometimes, I am a couch with far too many bodies placed on top of me and I cannot breathe and there is far more suffocation than rest happening. Sometimes I am a table or ottoman or sometimes I am just a sconce on a wall with peeling paper covering the spackle.
Somedays I am ok in this body. I dig it. I want to be nude and reveal its stunning imperfections.
Somedays I am confused by it. Don’t want to be penetrated or touched or imagined or labeled.
This tends to lead me toward the slash.
Perhaps that butterfly continued to struggle and I didn’t really save its life. Maybe it wanted to be in the middle of the road, tempting its fate to fast moving cars.
I biked away feeling the warmth of a good deed that somehow loses its power once it is spoken about.
That day I was a coffee table.
Today, I hope to build myself into a desk similar to my own……hand-painted and stained on wood that was just a scrap of something larger. A desk where poems are built. A desk where ideas are consumed and gathered.