The Boy and the Butterfly

There was once a little boy.
When he was in the third grade, he
held a butterfly on the palm of his hand. He
watched the way the light glinted off its wings.
He watched with delight how the colors would sing
their sweet songs into the blue, blue sky.

But the other boys didn’t like the butterfly.
When they saw the light in the boy’s eyes, they
pushed at him and pulled on his hair. They
called him names and said he was acting like a girl.
Because these boys, they felt that they had the world
held firmly in the grips of their fists.

The butterfly still clung to the boy’s palm.
As he became conscious of the dirtiness of its beauty, he
ground his hands together. He
pushed and twisted until there was nothing.
Nothing left of the butterfly and nothing–
nothing left of its boy.

The boy was crying.
The boy was crying while the other boys cheered.

And that boy is now a man.
Still scared to let himself see those colors again, he
hides behind a suit and a smile and a tie. He
keeps his handshakes firm and his love hidden away.
He wraps up his world in shades of gray
because he knows that anything else is treason.

Because he has long since learned that boys
shouldn’t ever love colors
or other people or
even other boys. And he knows
that they definitely
shouldn’t ever love butterflies.


One comment

  1. I was once a girl trying to be that boy. It never worked so I transformed myself as does a butterfly to be that girl I never was allowed to be but always believed I should have been in the first place. You needn’t excuse my vagina. I worked hard to get it.

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