A monarch butterfly, fallen from the air,
lay in a field. I took her home, pinned her
to the wall above my desk. For five years
she was part of the scenery, like the tea-
cup my son painted, or like the Post-it Note
you left once, slipping out before I woke:
I love you scrawled in Sharpie. I took for granted
her orange-rind, stained-glass wings, slanted
bolts of black the texture of velvet
paintings, white spots along the edge like eyelets.
I moved in with you gradually, a few boxes
each weekend for months. I moved the monarch
toward the end in a frenzy of packing and lifting.
I was careless with her, tossed her without thinking
into a liquor box filled with books, the spines
uneven hazards. That she was mine
to protect had not occurred to me before
I opened the box to find the right wing torn,
so all that was left was her body,
the other wing, and orange flecks like confetti
that I shook out over my empty desk, brushed
into my palm, and let fall into the trash.
I was certain she was beyond repair,
but now that she’s gone, I see her everywhere.