So Pass The Mariposa – A Poem

 

So Pass The Mariposa

The violets began to die the moment
the window glass was shattered.
An occurrence Marla could only interpret
to be a premonition.

In her youth she heard tell
(and Oscar can vouch for her on this)
how in the estuaries the birds
were giving birth
to living babies.
Human babies no larger than an egg
and with wings
instead of arms.
An old charlatan,
who was an uncle on her mother’s side,
said he even had one
when he overheard her talk about them
one day
to her friends.
He had it in a jar in his house.
But Marla was too quick-tempered
to believe him,
and trusted in this matter only the testimony
of other children.

“I could always place my faith in the violets,”
she said to Oscar.
It was a double pane window,
and only one of them had broken.
Its remains littered the grass.
“They were one of the few things
in my life
I could believe in.”

Oscar fell in love with her
watercolors
(perhaps unfairly)
when they were children and he spied on her
painting
in their father’s greenhouse
through the wrapping green of the tomato plants.
She wore a dress of earth tone pastels.
The morning was young and it shed its light
in a swirling panorama
of muted violins and fragrant
hot-house roses.

“We can name them The Mariposa,” Marla suggested.

“Why? They are nothing like butterflies.
More like mutant cherubs.”

“No, they are The Mariposa.”

Through the years
Oscar had stayed at Marla’s side
and had been ever vigilant
in his care for her.
From the wild days of abandon
as she mastered her art,
and enduring the complex violence
that epitomized her marriages.
Lasting as the house they shared
for all their years,
their parent’s house which once
was filled with life and hope,
collapsed under the loneliness
of time.
Even during the time when the flowers fell
from a clouded sky in June
and exploded.
Leaving only rubble, cinder and blood
in the town center
where the elderly would once gather to gossip
over hot black coffee,
and her children exchanged their hearts
with their lovers
in secret sealed envelopes
in the brightness of their passion.

“They have left now. The Mariposa.
They would drink the nectar from the violets
in the early hours,
but with the flowers dead
so too
pass The Mariposa.”

And Oscar stroked Marla’s hand
to comfort her as
she sat there in the stuffy confines
of the greenhouse
looking at the canvas that was
propped on her easel,
studying the painting she was working on
awash in hushed, bashful colors
for answers to riddles she knew she would never
comprehend,
and that he, of course,
found lovely beyond words.

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