Ten below and ice-mist on the river
when “Oh,” she says, “a butterfly!” as it
comes wobbling from the sun-room, settles
on the floor. We offer sugar water
in a spoon and watch its sucking tube unroll.
It sips, then flutters to the windowsill
and folds its scalloped wings against the chill.
By noon, bright sun, and full of spunk it beats
against the glass, in love with light. The ground
outside, a spanking white, looks welcoming.
Its wings, like paisley, red and brown, quiver
as it paws the pane, embodiment of
summer in late fall, cold-blooded thing,
whose hopes will never be this young again.