Butterfly with Parachute

A real one wouldn't need one,
but the one Nathan draws surely does:
four oblongs the size and color of popsicles,
green apple, toasted coconut and grape,
flanked, two per side, by billowing valentine hearts,
in a frame of Scotch tape.
Alive, it could stay off the floor,
for a few unaerodynamic minutes;
thrown as a paper airplane, for one or two more.

Very sensibly, therefore,
our son gave it something, not to keep it apart
from the ground forever, but rather to make safe its descent.
When we ask that imagination discover the limits
of the real
world only slowly,
maybe this is what we meant.

Stephen Burt, "Butterfly with Parachute" from Belmont. Copyright © 2013 by Stephen Burt.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. www.grawolfpress.org
Source: Belmont (Graywolf Press, 2013)
More Poems by Steph (also Stephen and Stephanie) Burt