Birds, Butterflies Encaged

In the hollow of your chest and stomach are birds,
Because, fuck butterflies.
They were eaten when the birds moved in.
You opened yourself up, allowing a banquet of butterflies for the birds to feast on.
Butterfly wings were left strewn in the bottom of your belly to mulch old feelings there may have been.

Feathers tickle you at inappropriate moments when you try to live.
They tickle as birds jostle for space to spread their wingspans in the cavities of your torso.
You are no longer here.
Your body is.
Your essence, your elegance and gaiety all well rehearsed.
You are nothing but Geppetto’s toy.

In a time of weakness you let me in.
I peeped through your translucence and a war was in session in your chest.
All those feathers!
It looked like a pillow fight.
I could not stop dreaming of those birds.
Those squawking, clawing, fluttering birds!
All trapped in the cage of your ribs.

In the carnage in your bowels were wingless butterflies.
All silently awaiting hungry beaks to swallow them whole.
I could not stop crying for those butterflies.
I remember them being the first thing I noticed about you when you walked into my cottage.
So colourful. So gentle. So lively.

Your cupid is delusional. He still shoots arrows my way.
The arrows land on me like punches.
They leave bruises the shape of St Valentine’s heart.
Bruising hearts are not welcome around here.
There will never be room.

Image by James Robinson

Frank Malaba 2018

Published by: Frank Malaba

Frank Malaba is an actor, playwright and a published poet. He was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa. He has performed on stage and television in both countries. He has a passion for using poetry, storytelling and theatre as a method of healing for both himself and others. His poetry has been presented both at home and abroad. Frank is currently developing a two-man play entitled “Broken Pathways” which will be touring internationally. In 2014 Frank was recognised by Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans as an Achiever in the category of Arts & Culture.

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