the painted lady

Jacob Friesenhahn
the painted lady eats
with invisible toes
made of tiny tongues
at the end of her six feet

the painted lady sleeps
on the Madonna’s red cape
tired from flying about
among iris rose and grape

the painted lady listens 
with outstretched wings
open to the golden hymns
the locked garden sings

the painted lady smells
with dual dark antennae
through thirty-thousand mirrors
the painted lady can see
beyond all our hopes and fears

Contextual Essay: The speaker in this poem finds surprising relief from worry through the contemplation of a butterfly (“the painted lady”).

Jacob Friesenhahn teaches Religious Studies and Philosophy at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. He serves as program head for Theology and Spiritual Action (THSA).



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