Daniel Fleischman

butterfly tattoo

My collar is starched, preserved and pinned to befit black tie. I sit on white upholstery, upholding

propriety the best I know how. Sweat collects on my shoulders as I shoulder what I so-call

sophistication. Sweat under suit jackets runs black as ink.

I sit and I glance as you dance.

You are turned away from my eyes, faceless,

a butterfly tattoo emblazoned on your back. Motion

proceeds relative to another body,

and I stay motionless,

lost in the flutter. Scapula form lepidoptera

wings that writhe with each twist and rhythm

to escape the confines of skin.

Wings     open     wide, on display, false eyes

      stare back with desire to fly, unrestrained

     by cutaneous          butterfly

nets. So     wings waft           effervescent,  up

     and down, push dust down,

rise up.     The reverse is true, too,            as the butterfly

flies:         push   breath   up,

     rise down.

Oscillation as it levitates,        ambivalent

      to hardwood dancefloor or high ceiling, indifferent

toward struggle     or ease, tumbling,


between fall and flight;

         shoulder blades and life.



Daniel Fleischman is a senior at SUNY Geneseo. He studies creative writing and biology because he believes salamanders are worth writing about, too. At home in Ossining, New York, he can be found running into spiderwebs as he daydreams in nature preserves or admiring his pet cocker spaniel.