Vulnerability is butterfly wings.
Not the wings of a newly-freed woman,
fresh to adulthood and blind to the dangers,
but of sunken-eyed parents who read
writing on walls, on news, on faces.
They’ve used their wings hard
in pandemic tornado winds and in icy frosted tones.
Deep fears have struck those delicate wings
with the challenge of raising good.
Some days their bright wings bring them high
with beautiful, fresh views below to remind them
that hard work, warm hugs, honest words
make the vulnerable tears worth it.
And the days that there is only so much
energy to soar at ground level, low and slow,
their butterfly strength still shines through
like the days of cocoons and naps, still there.
Butterfly parents aren’t warned about the
uneasy, restless, suspenseful part of the job.
That the more they learn, the less they know
and that each new phase makes them blind again.
Butterflies laugh when someone exalts
the brilliance in their wings, especially on
the days they feel caterpillar deception
writhing beneath the surface, marking time.
The lesson in butterflies is resilience.
That fragility can come with an innate strength,
and that those shockingly brilliant wings
can carry butterfly parents on a lifelong journey.
This essay was written thanks to a monthly theme from Illuminate, a writing community from The Kindred Voice.
Read more stories on VULNERABILITY from some of the other wonderful Illuminate members: