[Moondance; Celebrating Creative Women] [Musings from the Universe]

Deborah Finch
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The livingroom is filling with butterflies.
I sit crosslegged, guarding my reflection
in the window.  Warm as a lion's yawn,
the sun pulls its fur away and flares into
a swallowtail.  It perches on my resemblance.
One of me rolls into a ball and falls outside.

I jigsaw my parts into someone plausible
and slip as if completed into the hall.
My roommates have lost their faces watching
football.  Cabbage moths bury their feet.
Their voices are muffled by a delicate traffic.
The multi-winged mound on the floor is the dog.

I step outside.  The fugitive creature
has unfolded her long, graceful limbs,
is grazing quietly under my window.
I approach from behind and touch her neck.
She shudders.  Her hunger to be "real"
engulfs me like a black wave of bats.

I am afraid.  Now that she knows
she can escape, she ranges further away
each night, returning to me only at dawn,
her flanks streaming with sweat, nostrils wet,
black eyes glittering, wild.  I scrub her down,
having learned to ask no questions.

Now she chooses to come back willingly;
I pull her inside me like a breath.
Only then do my roommates turn and smile;
the dog trots forward, wagging its tail.
Butterflies falter.  Frail skeletons,
their ghost wings sweep the dead outside

where they pile up in doorways and gutters,
endless windrows of bleached invertebrates
drifting like snowflakes and apple blossoms.

[Click to see full sized image]
"Internalizing" by Patricia Obletz

Deborah Finch lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband and daughter and makes her living as a research biologist and technical writer. Nature has been a primary influence. Her poetry appears in online and print journals including Avocet, Owen Wister Review (OWR), Santa Fe Poetry Broadside, Mentress Moon, Moongate Internationale, The Dragonfly Review, 3rd Muse, 2River View, Salt River Review, FZQ, Melic Review, Poems Niedergnasse, and others. She won first place in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association Journal Competition for poems published in OWR. "Fugitive" was previously published in Owen Wister Review, Spring/88

E-mail Deborah Finch at


Other poems

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