they didn’t come from where you think —

I grew them from my hair in their larval forms,

caterpillars nipping at my skin,

their tiny footsteps dappling my skull 

and in turn I covered their small bodies

like a blanket. later,

before the world had turned from them in seeing

that they were not butterflies,

they built cocoons that hung from me,

and together we all slept.

when they left, I felt that I, too,

no longer had ground beneath my feet;

we all shed something that day.

I would cry, I am your home,

and they — for from my lips, 

they had learned to speak — would say,

yes, yes, yes:

but so is here, and here, and here.

and don’t you understand?

and what they said next I could never catch,

for I’d left nets behind in another life

where there was such thing

as loneliness. but they teach me, 

in time, sticking to my windows

and hiding against the sky,

that even the night is company

and there are things of more significance

than turning yourself into a shelter.

some nights, I hear the fatal percussion they make

when they throw themselves against the porch lights

until their bodies burn, and break,

and fall.

I ask them, why?

and they say, don’t you understand?

and this time I listen —

reach a palm out like a paper-thin wing, 

and listen —

they say, don’t you understand?

we are looking for the moon.