We sit in the shadows of a carnival tent and you tell me: one day we will emerge from a chrysalis, leave behind the fabric of these canopy walls, and take flight.
But even as your hands cast shadows on these canopy walls, you make no reference to butterflies.
We both know, even now, that we are tied to the shadows, that we will never assume the form of anything so beautiful as a butterfly.
Instead, we will emerge as polyphemus moths, tossing our bodies with abandon at the nearest possible light-source, consuming our own life-force in the process.
We will not emerge for any real extent of time.
Instead, we will be drawn without resistance to the standing lanterns that guard the edges of these fairgrounds,
and there we will bask in the fluorescent glow of the ferris wheel, warming our wings in the lanterns’ bright light,
and there we will find ourselves snuffed out, undoubtedly by something greater and more beautiful than two moths hovering before a lantern,
or two children casting shadow puppets on the fabric walls of a carnival tent.
Emily Uduwana is a poet and short fiction author with recent publications in Miracle Monocle, Eclectica Magazine, and the Owen Wister Review. She is currently based in Southern California, where she studies history as a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside.