Butterflies by Ciaran Parkes


On a brochure for child abuse victims
there’s a pattern of white butterflies against
a blue background. They can’t fly,

of course, being only made of paper
and words. Inside, there’s a list
of helpful services. I imagine

a caterpillar somehow condemned
to crawl his whole life, never taking flight,
the transforming magic never happening

for him, or happening too soon
so it doesn’t turn out right. I’m sure
in nature such phenomena occur.

by Ciaran Parkes

Editor’s Note: The central allegory of this poem hits like a punch—this much truth all at once can be brutal.