A young woman clutches
her fist to her breast
as if holding fast
to all her hopes     all her hope.

Her face is button-bright,
her body wired,
tongue tripping over itself
as she talks to the young man
who clings
to her every word
from the vast waste leagues of an arm’s length.

I can’t hear what’s being said
rom inside the bus
but it’s of no importance
to me
or them.
It’s the saying that is sweet.

Ears burning, faces turn to me
simultaneously, I remain staring
unashamedly, they laugh

And when I smile
they smile with me
for they have seen
their love
reflected in the eyes of a stranger
and know it to be true.

A young woman opens her fist
releasing a butterfly     it flutters
from her breast
to the cleft
of a young man’s collar bone 
where it hovers

as fragile as love.


‘Butterfly’ was first published in Australian Love Poems, Inkerman & Blunt, 2013