Unappreciated Butterfly

               I think I was on a balcony
               overlooking the whole thing.

                        --Yusef Komunyakaa 
                          "April Fool's Day"

No soon, no hard loan, no geometric woodwork 
to make you feel at home. No soap, no anonymous 
bourbon, no portrait or copy of a portrait painted 
by some writer or star or family member or any 
other-than-artist person. No short drop 
(you were fifteen floors up), no secret way 
out, no voice of self-hatred (which you are at least 
used to). No past tense. Sometimes no tense at all. 
Sometimes not even an all or nothing. Sometimes 
not even a real estate dream, not even a frame, 
not even a framework. A balcony but not a back 
kitchen porch. A woman hanging out her laundry 
but not hanging out. Railroad tracks and motor-
cycle gang around the corner but not a ticket 
or a destination. Not even the sense of a weird 
dead end. Not a lemon or a sun. No children. 
No stories about children, no crooked arrow. 
No ghost named Leslie or Vallejo. No C. No M. 
No J.

From Unsleeping by Michael Burkard, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2001 by Michael Burkard. Used with permission. All rights reserved.