Catching Myself, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Catching Myself


Jennifer Angelina Petro




Lately I have been thinking

When I was young I would

Buy butterfly nets, or make them,

And then go chasing after those delicate,

Powder-winged beings.

I swooped my net down,

Across, zig zag—anything to

Snatch a butterfly in midflight,

And when I captured one,

As gently as I could, I removed it

From the net, held it cupped in my hands,

Felt it tickling my palms

With fear-filled wings,

Examined its face, legs, and abdomen—

Resisting the traumatized impulse

To dog-ear its wings,

And then I would let it go

Like I was offering it to the world,

Like I was doing something kind,

Like I had every right to disturb

The life and heartbeat of these most

Cosmological beings, and then,

I would look at my hands

And see stains of pigment

Smudged on my palms—

It made me feel guilty,

It made me feel cruel,

And it made me feel like,

Just once, I had some form

Of beauty glittering inside me

as I fluttered into the waiting, stormy sky.





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