Butterfly Soup

There’s really no grace to their names: red peacock,
green triangle kite, blue and brown clipper.
A nomenclature of awkward plainness,
because trying to describe the metallic,
nearly turquoise wings of the blue morpho
in two to three words could only end in failure.
Our guide points to one, says it isn’t actually blue,
but that tiny scales on its wings scatter the light,
similar to the way dust molecules refract the sun’s rays.
When he finishes speaking, the boys in our group
give chase to whatever flutters by them,
while Jane, the only girl, keeps to the trail
that leads down to where the artificial stream
turns to go back through the filter
and we find the shredded fragments of so many wings
like confetti simmering in puddles after a parade.
Or are they more like the fronds and stems of the fruit
Chelsea was cutting for the salad last night?
Her knife slid through the strawberries.
The tiny green leaves, much lighter
than the small amounts of red flesh they clung to,
bobbed in the sink above the apple peels,
melon and orange rinds. I kissed her neck,
said I was sorry for something—it hardly matters what—
and without looking she put a strawberry in my mouth.
We dip our hands in the stream. Jane tells me
butterfly soup probably wouldn’t taste very good.
To keep us from eating them, she tells me, the bright,
beautiful things always have a bitter taste.