CW: depression, suicidal ideation, mentions of dementia
Hello again, world: I am here for the butterflies. My shins are bitten and bloody, sucked raw by thorns and nettles
as I pull myself through knavish greenery phone in hand, arms festooned with stickyweed eyes on the bright speckled prize. Yesterday
I chased a tremulous white butterfly across a road and through a car park, held my breath when it finally rested, willed my eyes
into telescopes, begged them to show me the underwing, whose pattern would tell me exactly what it was. I’ve tried
to explain why the names matter: why logging each species (and yes of course there is an app for that)
is a small act of defiance, a fragile stand against a breaking Earth, a broken us. In dreams I track Large Tortoiseshells and Coppers
across oceans, watch them vanish into light, wake up sobbing with loss. I am here for the pollinated pauses, the jagged-edged moments
between the moments, for Comma, after Comma, after Comma,
and I have seen people I love unroot themselves, forget my name, forget their own names, recognise nothing
and I have lain in a bed for a full weekend cocooned in my own sweat and sorrow wanting to die. But the first Brimstone of the year
never comes when I expect it: it is never the preened garden, the tended quiet park
but the mess at the side of the road, fly-tipped and unloved, where the first one dances out and makes everything sweet and fierce as sun.
I call them like an army: Peacock, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Holly Blue because this, now this is a love poem. This is the naming of wings.
Becki Hawkes lives in London, UK, loves running and butterflies, and has had poems published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Shore, Rust + Moth, Brittle Star, Pulp Poets Press, Crow & Cross Keys, Little Stone Journal, Lunate Fiction and Wrongdoing Magazine (forthcoming). Twitter: @BeckiH_678.