cabbage whites

small white butterflies. again. dancing in the abandoned field behind my suburban home. twirling like my granddaughter in her tutu. you remind me of the girl in me, who delighted, chasing you.

oh, how I thrilled when one of you was yellow. you were the prize, the extra in the ordinary, the peanut in the box of crackerjack.

that was long before i was told you were a pest, and that the tiny trumpet-shaped blossoms that were your favorites were weeds. ah but those blossoms, so subtly pink, hid their color in secret so that only a butterfly–or girl who looked very closely– knew that they weren’t really white at all, and closed themselves entirely when plucked from the vine no matter how many times a girl tried to bring them inside to her mother.

where have you been all these years?

surely you’ve been here all along, though it seems to me your return is sudden and at once, with a riot, like those cicadas that rise from their earthy sleep once every 17 years, as they did that lovely summer when I was wed.

it seems you have been waiting just to jump out and surprise me as I round the corner to the garden. as i try to walk faster (they say it is good for my heart), you skip along beside me circling, circling like that little girl, tripping me each time with your beckoning, ‘see me, see me!!’

has it something to do with this spring of my 50th year, the one that came without winter, that has me out of doors in ways I haven’t been for so long?

you know what is good for my heart.

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