Tinkerbell and the Butterfly Bush (for Audrey)
by Jess Mersky
It isn’t true that Tinkerbell
came into our back yard at night,
to buzz around in sunny moon-
light and wait till my teeth fell out,
so she could carve a new tea set.
(Enamel’s stronger than ox-bone,
and Tinkerbells pay well.) But I
sat in the hall window seat, fists
over my ears (to keep out bats),
my lost teeth tucked into my palm.
Our Black Knight bush stood tall enough
to brush the sill, and butterflies
clung high to its blue-velvet blooms,
so near to the pane you could see
their needle-noses poke into
each tiny trumpet. I thought Tink
might land there and wait, hanging on
by her little bare feet and hands,
just like a butterfly– and I
swear the branch moved, though no breeze blew
as I pressed my nose to the glass.
It dipped beneath the sill and up:
a hundred eyes, each a tiny
orange flame, winked at me through the pane.
I didn’t know that the Black Knight
kept all her eyes open at night.
It seemed we shared a great secret.
I’m loath to break her trust. But you
ought to know, and feel unafraid,
when Tinkerbell fails to appear–
or when something stirs in the night
where a butterfly should have been.