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Kimberly Becker


         The last, the very last,
             So richly bright and dazzlingly yellow…
             That butterfly was the last one.
Pavel Friedmann, child at Terezin, deported to Auschwitz

As a child I came upon the wonder:
hundreds of orange and onyx jewels
set in the hedge-high crown

On their way to Mexico
they rested in such numbers
their flight was vertigo

I watched, enthralled,
not knowing by what name
the butterflies were called

not knowing their thronéd namesake
(early settlers named them for King Billy,)
or that their beauty held toxicity

When I think of their bright flight
I think release of grief
think butterfly dance for all collected, mounted, pinned,

their lives so brief.