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Butterflies Alive!
by Mary Langer Thompson

"Watch your step!
Butterflies on the path."

I enter the screened garden where
a giant swallowtail hovers near
a blue hibiscus.
A painted lady flutters by.
I long for a cloudless sulphur
to land on me lightly, not
as the world presses.

A girl with hair
in simple cornrows
reads the sign that says
they live for only a week or two.
She confides, "I'm afraid of dying."

I say these butterflies don't seem afraid.
They just want to sip nectar.
She says she's not sure about that.

We watch a mourning cloak briefly
close its wings.

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