Dying Butterflies by Lana Bella
Medicines stack untouched in the cupboard, old tonic
scent suffuses the oak corners and axis, like a river of
camphor merged in the slow-moving air. My life sweeps
on the bed with shadows in sated weight. Of guilt, of
goodness, a full symphony of dulcet tunes. Where the
moving time and black memories spool together in my
recess, bringing to mind the steady fingers of mortal
upon the wintered skin of the living. Residing aches
beneath my flesh strum along with the pulses of dirt-
warm earth, clutching the burning sky. Weeping, I am
told again and again, is a figment of my fever. So I lay
myself voicelessly beneath the tender protest of blue
pressing ceiling, while my mouth is vaulted up in clusters
of butterflies. Sewn themselves into a universe walled
within relic half-moon songbirds, and abandoned lakes.
As I breathe in the sour milk of my dying skin, tongues
of dark flick open the diadem of light, lips curve to wake
the Monarch Queen. A gaping mouth, blurs of strayed
indigo and something much darker like wild lupine, unfurls
at blishered rising of the cells. Crawling out ready for a flight.
Crimson pain a hunger discharges like acid rain, my body
no longer realizes my body as itself. But, it is a final effort
of mercy: to live beyond myself in a delicate hold of sleep.
Somewhere over an ocean emptied of wings.