Today’s prompt was to write a “transformation” poem. What I ended up with is almost a found poem, inspired by the wisdom and optimism of my daughter.
On our way to art class, my daughter tells me she’ll paint a butterfly. It’s animal day, and though she thinks a butterfly is not really an animal in the same was as the zebra or pig her sister will surely paint, she thinks it will still count. Why do you like butterflies, I ask? Because of the change, she says. Metamorphosis, I offer, and she nods. Our change is slow, she explains, but so much the same. When she sees herself in baby photos, she recognizes the girl she knows now. We grow, she says, but a butterfly transforms. And I admit I had never considered the distinction. Who could ever look at the fat, furry caterpillar, crowded with legs and so bound to the ground, and expect it to sprout wings — ornate, delicate wings — and suddenly know how to soar? And later, when she shows me the painting, I note the bright hues of red and orange, the yellow body, and a small black face, cartoonish and human, smiling in the centre of the canvas. Your butterfly is happy, I say. Of course, she smiles back, what’s the point of changing if you don’t change into something better?