What forms a butterfly?
The absence, not the sum of parts, I think

The first time that I saw you I felt empty,
as if each part of me had vanished from its place.
My heart (the cliched fool) was in my mouth,
and maybe that’s the reason for my traitor
tongue and lips to utter mere inanities

Impress you not, I will.
Collapsed balloon, am I,
with sighs, not words escaping me

In stuttered pauses, does my voice
becomes a morse code of the eyes’ delight.
“This wine” (she looked at me!)
“is wonderful”
” and I haven’t tasted” (and I’m drowning in her eyes)
“food this good since”
(I wonder what her lips taste like)
“I don’t know when”

My limbs are now the tingling
of an amputee – the phantom
feeling that it’s possible to make a move.
But still, I’m trapped, transfixed (a butterfly upon a pin).
Unable to do more than hunger for her.

The blood is electricity
and the parts of me are metal scraps
set out along the lines of force you radiate.
I’m dissolute – wantonly in pieces scattered
on the floor, yet held in place by your attention.
Metal filings on a piece of paper shaped into a man.

That’s it!
I’m hollow now.

Heart, stomach, lungs all vanish
and in their place exists
brown eyes, brown hair, snub nose
… and butterflies surround you in the depths of me.

© Eric Rose 2005

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