I didn’t plant the butterfly bush. It grew there of its own accord,
in between the apple tree and the perennial sweet peas,
an uninvited party guest spiraling skywards like an exploded party popper.
It crowded out the garden path entirely, but I had not the heart
to cut it back – I enjoyed its honey fragrance too much,
the daily cohort of butterflies which arrived to sun themselves
on purple flowering cones; sometimes five, six, even a dozen
soft-winged creatures moving meticulously across the blooms,
nectar-drunk, dipping long tongues into each sweet-scented flower
in search of ambrosia. I could stand a palm’s width away
without startling them, noticing for the first time how exquisite
their wings are when seen from underneath, how they give way to hornets
but hold their own among the bees, the way they disperse
into a flurry of petals around my head if I walk past too fast.
Now the flowers are fading, but every time I pass underneath
the butterfly bush I am reminded to move slowly, to show hospitality.
Wild and beautiful things take root in unexpected places if you let them,
and if you walk by too fast, you might scare away the butterflies.
Thank you for reading! 💜 This poem was first published in Scribe magazine here