For The Butterflies in Cairo

One falls from the sky

I’m four years old in a field of flowers

And I believe these yellow winged creatures have powers

They look like bright fairies swarming 

And in my four year old mind dreams start forming 

I want nothing more than one of my own

Reaching into the sky with my fist I pull one down so fast it couldn’t have flown

Away from me 

And my mom says set it free

If you touch its wings it will die


Four fall from the sky

I’m six years old looking into a sparkling glass box with fear

Crying so loudly I wonder if they can hear

Me weep for them through the thick inches of glass 

They live in a see through prison rimmed with brass

My father tells me to look at how beautiful they are

Effervescent in their stillness just like a distant star 

But I am still sobbing for the dead butterflies in his palms

Thinking this evil was so quiet unlike that of guns or of bombs

But still so wrong so horrifying and disgusting

I was shaking for two weeks, imagining the glass busting

And the multi-colored magnificent beings flying free


Millions fall from the sky

I’m seventeen years old and sitting behind the brightness of a computer screen 

Wishing I could choose to not believe the things I’ve seen

The face of a butterfly in Cairo looks back at me

Etched into her eyes is a world only she can see

But I recognize the fear that wraps around her like a chrysalis

She is constantly running from the harassment, the groping, the unwanted kisses

Her delicate face reminds me of a time when I was six looking into a box of wings

Stolen, spread wide, and tied with strings

I thought of how I cried for weeks thinking of how someone threw their fists in the air

And ripped them from the sky, aware that they would die, so people could collect them, so people could stare

No one lifted a finger for the victim, no one reminded them that they are strong

Instead they looked at the butterfly net, looked at this horrible wrong

And said maybe if they had flown fast enough, I would have never hurt its wings


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