to kill a butterfly


for as long as i can remember, my friend Lindsey 
has been in love with Peter Pan.

on a night of pill bottles and pale skin, Peter visited her
hospital room and the green fringes of his kid-clothes 
tickled her nose as he glided around the ceiling. 

no one knows that Peter actually likes school. it’s
where they taught him how clouds feel on your back,
the difference between young and small, the way
it looks a lot like scratches.

Lindsey carved a map of Neverland into her wrists with box cutter slashes.
the winding valleys and mermaid lagoons weren’t war paint, 
just battle cries and bad decisions. 

Peter Pan taught her how to trust when he taught her 
how to fly but Lindsey sobs like a metronome; 
so many ticks, she just loses track of time.

survival isn’t something you learn in school but Peter 
traced the purple lines on her arms and penned-in butterflies.

you are no razorblade promise, you are no fragile lung.
you are Lindsey with the angel voice and autumn hair. 

when the leaves began to fall, Peter told her about
the monarchs he drew fluttering around her wrists, 
that the same ones were in the skies of Neverland.

my friend Lindsey has a pixie dust laugh.
sometimes, it chokes her on the way out but
her fingers find a fading Neverland.

so when she has a box cutter nightmare, Peter comes to her
with a jar full of wings and shows her how they move,
how to shatter the sterile hum of a thousand metronomes,
how to leap from a clock tower and swim in a mermaid lagoon.

for now, the deep red streets of Neverland are fleshy and bruised but
whenever Lindsey's box cutter hand starts to slip, Peter draws a
butterfly on her wrist and says don't cut this one in half. 

Lindsey, i know that you’re an angel who just wants to go back home
but forget the jars this time; the butterflies are floating through

wispy leaves and amber strands. the cuts will only deepen if

you let them, so take hold.

Peter and i won’t let you kill another butterfly.
their wings were always meant to soar. 
all they’ve ever wanted was to feel alive.



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