Martha Vallely

Volanding on an Updraft

 

He said you are a lovely lady.
She thought that he was joking.
She said she saw a butterfly
red ziggy zaggy
with half a hind wing ripped off
volanding on an updraft
a little lopsided what with half a half a wing gone
but moving still
from a near place to a far.

Painted ladies fly across the Alps she said–
don’t you want to do that?
Of course we’d have to eclose first–
don’t you want to eclose?
It would be sweet to spend five instars–
don’t you want to be instar?
motionless in a pupa
become liquid
have all your cells rearrange while you hang.
I want to be mother-of-pearl morpho iridescence.

You are lovely as mother of pearl he said,
slipping it into the conversation when she wasn’t looking.
I will follow painted ladies across the Alps with you,
chase morphos into the heart of Brazil,
go to Papua New Guinea in search of the Queen Alexandra’s birdwing,
go anywhere everywhere whicheverwhere,
if there you will know that you are loved
and let me touch you.

 

“Volanding on an Updraft” is reprinted from Windfall.

 

 

Martha Vallely lives in Seattle where she has worked as a legal editor for 36 years.  Her poetry has appeared in The Smoking Poet, Menacing Hedge, Windfall, Motel 58, and the anthology 31 (Crane’s Bill books).

 

 


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