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Two small white butterflies settle
into their own moment, the male
lighting without fuss on the female
perched along the flat pink petals
of the cuckoo-flower in the ditch
beside the road to Letterfrack, and she
holding on as he reverses direction.

How they take to each other, facing
opposite ways, green spines aligned
and delicately connected: his wings
fanned open, hers shut fast like hands
to show the fritillary intricacies
of the underwing, as if holding him
to an embrace that will let nothing

come between them. Quiet at first,
they suddenly flutter wildly for a few
long seconds, then quiet again until
a passing car startles them and they
take off across the path of traffic,
still connected body to body as if
he's bearing her away, holding

at a steady height -- her weight
his ballast, her wings still folded,
both absorbed in something more
than the species making itself safe
against the predatory crush and fuss
of matter -- to land safely in grass,
gone from our sight. It must be

the subdued purposeful air of it all
that holds us, the way this act of theirs
shapes the world we share and spins
for a big instant the globe around
their truth against good sense and
judgment, the scandal of their sex
in tune with things, staining the day.

eamon grennan