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The Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

In the soft beating
of their wings
you can hear it
that they used to be
an army
marching by foot
on land
before this.
How easy it is
to forget.

Sun, Apr 22, 2018 | Model info | Footnotes

Arely is 25, and a Mexico City native. Her physiopoem today combines the work of Carlos Amorales in the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo and how it spoke to me about her. The exhibit shown is one of paper butterflies attached to the walls and ceilings, sometimes clustered, sometimes spaced out, all over the place in a giant room of the museum. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful. Arely and I went there together the other day, and sitting inside of the butterfly room, I wrote this poem on her arm.

Did you know that a group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope? A kaleidoscope of butterflies was surrounding us. It was impossible for me to know that and not include it in Arely’s poem, partly because Arely sees the world in a kaleidoscopic way. She is always open to seeing things from another angle, and isn’t it interesting how just a little movement of the mind can drastically change the way things look. There’s something else in there too. How easy it is in our growth, or evolution, our metamorphoses, to forget where we came from, just like it’s easy to forget the butterfly used to be a caterpillar. Sometimes, we forget to learn from our mistakes, we forget to use our experiences consciously as tools for how we think and act and are. Because Arely is so deeply motivated by growth, I thought this poem could be a heartful reminder (as it can be to us all) to remember to use those tools.