the monarch butterfly thinks nothing of trains.
mistakes the rails for stiches
where god kneeled down to mend
the severed earth. tastes oil in the air
& thinks "history." plans to spend
the day flitting between this side
& the other. thinks nothing about
barcodes or brains. elects to taste
her legs for hints of the wilted rose bush
growing outside the lawyer's office.
when lovers shout out windows
the butterfly always thinks they're
shouting at her. someone says
"please call me back" & she blinks
like a turned page. when she was new
& her wings still wet with opening,
she imagined landing on a human's face
to understand the texture of skin.
after attempting this twice she's mostly given up.
she knows she would have to land
in their sleep & it is so hard
to catch a human sleeping. her eyes
are fruit bowls. she thinks nothing
about potting plants or wrists.
has never seen herself in a mirror.
doesn't think anything about trains
though she's narrowly missed being struck
by the 6:03 PM train to huntington
fives times. regards the trains rushing
as an act of the landscape
the same way a hurricane might
pull the trees sideways. she believes
the structure will one day catch her
& she will have no way to stop it.
pulses her paper-light wings.
hears pollen singing yellow & a radio
praying to anyone who will listen.
flies just above the ground
& unknowingly moves out of the way just as
the train slices past full of human bodies
each with a face
& some with their own paper.
she watches them leave, scurrying
towards cars & buildings. the machine
dull from travel, knows nothing
of the monarch butterfly
& i am there standing there by the tracks
watching the little creature flit
like nothing is wrong. i want to tell her
she can land on me & i will never
rush past. i'll stand still
as long as she wants.