There are gilded butterflies tiptoeing at the tip of my tongue
and I am swallowing them one by one each time I look at you.
They are taunting the inside of my stomach with their wings
and whispering as they climb up my throat
and sometimes I part my lips to breathe and one flies free.

I cannot cage it once the wind takes hold.
I watch it hurl itself at a world its never known,
grazing walls and flowers and your collarbone
with its tiny feet.

No one takes a flyswatter to a butterfly,
‘tho sometimes children chase them with their palms outstretched.
Are you even the slightest bit inclined to let your years fall away
and chase the wing-tipped syllable
that escaped from my lips
when I dared to breathe?

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