In the room we lie together,
doing our dirty deeds,
waiting for the butterfly,
a monarch larger than any of us could be.
Together, we are ashamed and when
it comes, together, we take bite after bite
of its beautiful wings.
I could eat an entire wing myself.
We stop when we see its body.
We stop when we see what we have done.
We are no longer hungry, and we wonder whether it is too late.
We look the butterfly in its eyes, and we mourn for ourselves.
We mourn for our violence, and we realize
we have lost our ability to cry.
The monarch surprises us by offering its body.
You must eat, it says. Eat more, it says.
Some people declined, having formed convincing theories,
but the best among us ate quietly our share
and prayed to be forgiven of the hunger.