Metallic butterflies can’t fly – Emma Lee

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Metallic butterflies can’t fly

The robin chirps a warning: I’m in his territory.
I don’t leave so he flies down to investigate.
I wonder what he makes of me using a picker
to transfer sweet and cigarette wrappings from the ground
to a black sack. Relief this unnatural stuff
is gone or the robin equivalent of an eye-roll?
There’s nothing here he can nest with.
The picker clangs on something metal
and I drag it out from the shrubs for a better look:
a tea light holder designed to be hung like a lantern
and decorated with metal, white-painted butterflies.
The robin cocks his head, his eyes watch me
now he’s close enough for me to grab.
I get the wrappers: redundant, they’re just
dropped by people too lazy to use the bins,
too idle to think of consequences.
But this lantern took planning: someone
purposely brought it to the park, searched
for somewhere to hide it and dumped it
probably rearranging the shrubbery as cover.
I wonder why whoever it was didn’t use
their ingenuity to photograph it, stick it
on a boot sale app and earn a little extra
money instead. It must have been an unwanted
gift, the butterflies too frivolous,
the white too bright to fit a desired image,
‘lost’ a better explanation than ‘sold’.
It doesn’t fit here either: too small to house
a nest, too flimsy to support food and birds.
It goes in the litter bag. I move on.
The robin returns to his tree.

 

Emma Lee’s recent collection is “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, 2015). She was co-editor for “Over Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge” (Five Leaves, 2015). She reviews and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com

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