I have a butterfly in my mouth             I worry
for its wings    they brush across my palate     scrape
against my teeth          scuff their tiny scales
onto my tongue

I want to suck them clean, to
taste their ultraviolet dust                    remember I
was six last time I pinched a wing with two fingers
and rubbed           terrible
     that off-kilter walk

I’m afraid       even now
to hobble blue or ruin webbing. Even now
     I crave the silky flakes that smudged my fingers
with muddled color       they’ll taste
I think       musky or moldy or
they’ll have the fishy kelpy
flavor of seawater     Do I hold it
     keep it safe
do I open and let it totter out     do I press it
between tongue and roof
     of mouth and swallow
I have a small mouth       and a protective urge

and sometimes
one gets stuck in the other