Today begins National Poetry Month and here at Sunlight, a week of poetry. 

by Emily Sorensen

The Reconciliation of Butterflies

Does the butterfly remember life
as a caterpillar? Perhaps it recalls
the green taste of leaves, the sun

upon its wrinkled skin. Maybe it longs
for moss and lichen and tries
to find the soft, damp bed again.

But to fly—to fly!
Joy beats in the wind and nectar tastes sweet.
Who would ask for that other slinking life?

Still, I wonder if the butterfly seeks
something lost, some echo of another home,
gone forever now, exchanged for wings.


College Roommates

The front desk workers matched roommates
by profile under the guise of compatibility.

They paired the accordion player with
the karate guy who attacked walls and furniture.

They paired the virgin girl who went to bed
by nine with the late-night S&M girl, all black

and whips. The impeccably dressed
Parisian who ironed even his underwear

suffered a slob who piled his clothes in a corner.
I was the sports dyke in Kmart warm-up suits

paired with the beauty queen from Texas.
I met her outside the dorm and lugged her

two heavy suitcases up three flights of stairs
while she toted a little makeup case.

Over my desk, I tacked a calendar to the wall
and a poem called Will in my mother’s hand.

At her desk, she filled drawers with foundation
and blushes, palettes of eye shadow, pencils

and brushes, tubes of mascara and lipstick,
bottles of creams and gels and pastes.

And then she unpacked two more roommates—
a mirror and a framed 8×10 of her face.



Stringed instruments did not exist
in my pass-by hometown of trailers, used
cars, irregular clothes, and ill-fitting shoes.

In my college dorm, Julia’s world-class
renditions of Mendelssohn transported
me from my room of hand-me-downs.

Julia, destined for greatness, hailed
from a California town called Davis.
What a utopia, I thought.

Older, I moved to Davis for my work
where my son now plays the violin.
My wife who nurtures small sticks into flame

nudges him towards his first concert.
What joy to hear him play the Can-can dance
or a lullaby of Mozart’s or a round.

When the music teacher lifts her baton,
I also hear the sound of a crisp white shirt,
shiny shoes, and dress slacks in orchestra black.


About the photographer: Emily Sorensen is an environmental educator and a DFA Candidate researching ecological art and performance at the Yale School of Drama, where she earned an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism. She likes to go outside and take pictures of trees @emily.sorensen.