A Butterfly Is Dying
by Samantha Martinez

Last I heard from Finnegan, he sang a song about
a butterfly dying.
Really it was a poem at the time I misunderstood,
too wrapped up in his story of the taxi that struck him
and the unbearable pain that shot through the steel rod
in his leg.
I wondered in an attention-deficit moment
how he managed to fuck if he was so incapacitated
and where did he meet the deaf guy, a top who loved
heavy metal and house music, and where had he learned
sign language, and how sometimes
his hands were like butterflies
dying and telling us secrets in their wayward
fingers that tapped a cadence to the poem
he read out loud. Finnegan mouthing
words in a faked accent like Madonna had
picked up, not knowing which ghetto he wanted
to represent.
A butterfly dying was hard to imagine
since the only mariposas I knew "vogued"
in the streets and smoked pot spun in pink acid paper
to feel happy.
Now half are of them are dead, so maybe it was a premonition
and I've finally understood the pain
that became a poem instead.

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