Home >> Volume 1, Issue 01


Olivia Bustion

[for S—]

After you turned away –
when you would not return,
and I knew the turning
was final, the silence
was final, the failure
of my struggle to call
your mind back to my mind
was final – when I saw

that you turned according
to an unpicked logic
not fragile but rigid,
the inexorable
spiral of your brain down
unreal world after world,
tightening inward toward
its broken invention –

after you turned away
and after I saw why,
I paced and paced around
the backyard pool, my head
shock-swaddled, and I fought
against my hurt and hate
without logic, without
a language for the fight.

While an August locust
evensong blared from oaks
that encircled the pool,
I filled a watergun
and shot a hollyhock
till the four-foot column
of the bloom fell under
the force of the water.

A butterfly settled
in the wet hollyhock.
The weak arch of its wings
twitched, delphinium-blue.
It rested in the wrecked
bowl of the hollyhock
for a remarkable
time, beating its bright wings.

I filled the watergun
again and aimed it toward
the butterfly and shot,
and the wings shut and split
against my killing, so
I shot until their small
struggle broke, and the wings
stuck to the hollyhock.

I saw that pain travels
from person to person
to person:  each broken
man brings his hurt to break
another man, again
and again and again –
an inexorable
spiral of injury.

Detaching butterfly
from bloom, I thought:  beauty
could exist in the world
only if one Man bore
all of the injury
in His body, stilling
the whole spiral, taking
all pain into Himself.