This was the year the butterflies left us,
when we discovered they had impersonated
every flower on Earth. They fluttered up
one morning like a reverse waterfall, a ribbon
of colour disappearing into the heavens.
They left us nothing but empty fields,
bare hedgerows. Lovers handed each other
stalks and leaves; bracken and shrubs.
At sunset, under indigo skies, we thought
they had settled on clouds; others believed
they were in the mountains of Tibet,
scattered like wild orchids on the summits.
We searched from space, scanning the colourless
Earth, the painful symmetry of continents.
We looked up to the Moon, the shades
of green and gold on the Ocean of Storms.
Then just as soon, they came back: a confetti
one day, a blizzard of wings that had us
rejoining in the streets; we threw carnivals,
fiestas, until the colour returned to our cheeks.
We revered them like gods in our hands,
lifting them gently from our windscreens.