Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dead Butterfly by Ellen Bass

Dead Butterfly 

For months my daughter carried 
a dead monarch in a quart mason jar. 
To and from school in her backpack, 
to her only friend’s house. At the dinner table 
it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast. 
She took it to bed, propped by her pillow.

Was it the year her brother was born? 
Was this her own too-fragile baby 
that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world? 
Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house? 
Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there?

This plump child in her rolled-down socks 
I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me 
and carry safe again. What was her fierce 
commitment? I never understood. 
We just lived with the dead winged thing 
as part of her, as part of us, 
weightless in its heavy jar.



  1. "weightless in its heavy jar" ... superb way to end this touching poem.

  2. Predictable.... But tender....