Anna Ruin

No Butterfly

When we sleep together, I think of butterfly specimens mounted in shadow boxes. That isn’t to say I don’t trust you. Still, the image comes every time we knot the duvet with our legs, and sometimes after. So far I’ve rendered the common monarch, black swallowtail, admiral, and painted lady. October 19th, 18th, sometime in September, and eight years ago. I’ve sorted them chronologically. I wonder what I am. If I’m cataloged. If you think of me and think of fog, or moss, or nectarines. If you think of taking to the streets with handmade posters, or chronic homelessness, or feminism. You text, good morning. it’s snowing in denver and I can see it intensely, even though it’s another five hundred miles. The snow in fat clumps on your street, on your car, scooped up into your mouth. Okay, I’m as complicated as anyone. I never feel fully awake, and forget everything I read, and am terrible at problem solving. I reserve a trove of trauma for special occasions. The times I was touched without permission, the times I wanted to touch but didn’t know how, the times you whispered through the receiver about what it’s like to want and I felt the want so strongly, I quivered. So, here’s what I know for sure, after all these months and years and lifetimes of longing: I am not the butterfly. I’m the pins that do the mounting.