A Study Of Butterflies

Clocks beat their incessant rhythm;

time told by ticks you hear,

time is the air you breathe,

time is the harder push and kick under water.

I am acutely aware of the struggle,

the weight of water above, suffocating,

and the darkness below.

When I see you turn and stare,

a smile dusted with sugar and sprinkles,

I know it’s too late; the ticking stopped.

I’m pinned to a board for you,

splayed in compromising ways,

all the colours and lines, shapes and textures

of my soul laid bare beneath the glass.

Pinned to a board,

your personal butterfly,

wings open and stabbed through with pins.

This is how love gone wrong makes you feel.

This is what being horribly open makes you realise.

You are on display; kindnesses and sins,

inked like sacred tattoos all over.

You are the expert, judging my form.

You are the clever enthusiast,

reshaping my design, new pins,

new stabs,

as you replace the glass before my eyes again.

Hopelessly trapped in your hands,

quaking like a captured bird,

I can’t even move my arms to cover

the crude scratched markings,

bright red scissor marks across my thighs.

They speak of pain, heart ache,

loneliness, sadness;

emotional rollercoasters,

betrayal, silent tears, self punishment.

Heartbreak mostly.

Over you.

This is how anxiety kills.

The constant glass window you place

me so nicely under

is more toxic than you know.

It keeps me locked under an icy glow.

I’m pinned so I can’t

break your gaze;

you may not think it much but

I’m lost in such a tearful craze.

Please stop hurting me,

please stop viewing me.

I’m open and raw and cut,

lying like a dead specimen;

you took it all from me

when you


I love you.

Place me out of sight,

just for a little while.

Let me keep my secrets,

let me keep my shelter;

the safe where I throw all the


because I don’t want you to see them.

If you loved me,

I wouldn’t have to be your

dead butterfly.

I’d be fluttering at your ear,

a sweet brief presence, a coloured blur,

lost in the air, free in seconds.

If you loved me,

let me go.

*Art by Jodie Furlong- “The Old Laundrette”*


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