by Tabor Elisabeth Flickinger
The spine is built of butterflies;
Each spreads its wings upon a slice
Of sky stained myelin-blue.
When trapped, extracted, scrutinized,
The mottled pinion shows its scales’
Designs of subtle hue
As tinted nerve cell bodies make
The eyelets of the checkerspots
Of caught Nymphalinae.
Meticulous collectors keep
Their beauties under glass, peer through
A lens at their display.
Within each slide-observer’s spine,
Live butterflies hold council, swarm
Together, wild and free.
Quick twitches of their beating wings
Stir currents, raised aloft on drafts