My head is home to the butterflies

I am dreadfully hunched over, and my new-to-me flannel hangs limp, 

the sleeves a closed curtain to the hand-drawn stars atop my hands.

 

My Arnold Palmer balances beside the 800-page book I can’t seem to put down, 

one that I haven’t ever underlined sentences from 

yet every word takes inky shape across my heart as the stars do my hand, 

and as I take a sip from the can, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. 

 

In the mirror adjacent to my bed, I catch a glimpse of myself 

sitting cross-legged, enveloped in the impenetrable chaos that is my room, 

taking a sip of my tea as if the stars above me aren’t exploding,

their dust coating my entire life in a darkness I can’t seem to escape. 

 

Is this it,

I think as I set the can, nearly full, 

back on my bed. 

 

I must have done something right,  something right enough, to nurture all those butterflies all this time.”

It’s a passing thought, one that flutters away 

with the flip of a page, but there are others that aren’t as winged. 

 

My head is home to the butterflies, the ones that know how to use their wings, 

the ones that haven’t quite figured it out yet, and the ones still in their cocoon. 

They never ask if this is it, for all they know is the home I’ve given them. 

 

I fear I’ve given them the same darkness that the stars did me. 

 

But that is a notion, an unbelievable belief, 

that has her wings and can fly away—a thought light enough

to float with a turn of a page. 

 

I must have done something right, 

something right enough, to nurture all those butterflies all this time. 

 

Because they’re still here, and they can’t see in complete darkness. 

 

I hope one day they’ll all know 

how to use their wings, but just being able 

to stand is enough. 

 

I hope it’s enough for them.