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I let you go with both hands,

before you flew straight up to glory-land,

beyond bare branches, above house tops and lightning rods,

in silhouette, becoming a tiny dark star,

heading towards home or some safe oblivion,

after emerging quite out of season,


before adding wood to woodstove warm the room,

turning with coffee in hand, unsweetened by worry,

spilling cornflakes on a red, half-circle hearth rug

only to be startled by the fluttering of you,

wings between a Boston fern and sagging window panes

that held the glass promise of early blue skies.


Knowing you will meet death inevitably,

briefly capturing the yellow rim, the blue dots at wings' edge

with photographs, as you rested

in intervals between the furious battering to be free

and my uncertainty of releasing you to the November frost.


You, so out of place, purple butterfly bush flowers long dead.

You, so trusting for an insect, another person might have

pinned you down, kept you forever young,

displayed and labeled Nymphalis antiopa.

You, so determined to fly, so contrary for a butterfly.


Thanks to etouffee for advice, raincomplex for the link and comment "i found your butterfly", which had been previously identified by my husband and one of his ancient field guides incorrectly.