My mother’s birthday gift hangs terribly
above the door: a butterfly packaged
in polished glass, its death neatly managed.
Pins spread its wings open—a parody
of past flight, bare torso on exhibit
like a disrobed lover posing in bed.
An abashed voyeur, I let tears shed
at this stiff compliance, my illicit
delight in public surrender, motion
netted by my gaze. This contained decay,
a science—labeled and held on display,
wild beauty disciplined by an open
casket. Those black eyes a mirror, precise.
My own face held there, hungry for a vice.