A butterfly was observed drinking
the tears of a crocodile. —from National Geographic
How misleadingly delicious the Latin word
as if tears were cream we sip through
the straw of our proboscis
as it probes the juicy pond in the corner
of a crocodile’s eye.
As if tears were no more than aperitifs,
cocktails on the veranda,
not this sacrament of salt and sorrow,
elixir and libation,
the mineral tang we crave after the cloy
of too much nectar.
Each salt drop is the distillation of a god-
Every sip rich with an intimation of peril:
flick of gnashing teeth,
pernicious periscope eyes, the sudden
spank of tail.
Imagine how it must feel when their bodies
froth the water,
then the post-prandial basking, motionless,
on a bank’s velvet mud.
We who flit through life on painted, sissy
wings know they take
our ministrations as their due, lying fat
and satisfied, while we suck
up their tears, wings preening like a bow
in a young girl’s hair.