—late spring, on schedule,
and when they do for fifteen days
the mountains are littered with a beauty
humans hardly deserve, littered I say
because they perch right on the ground,
on the mountain face, and there is one so beautiful
I hope never to learn its name because
it appears as an unnamable marvel,
intricately tattooed upon a gray-blue wing,
the exact color of the slate rock that camouflages it.
But when it spreads its wings its back reveals
ecstatic blue, and when a dozen that waited like pebbles
for your approach alight, it is the opposite of snowfall,
butterflies hardly conjures how the world is snowing sky.
© Jennifer Grotz
Many thanks to Jennifer Grotz who gave us permission to publish this poem, from her latest collection, Window Left Open (Graywolf Press). Grotz is the author of two previous poetry collections, The Needle and Cusp. She teaches at the University of Rochester and in the low-recidency MFA program at Warren Wilson College, and she serves as the assistant director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.