Metamorphosis at a Stop Sign in Florida – a poem by T.S. Davis

Metamorphosis at a Stop Sign in Florida
(After the butterfly dream of  Zhuang Zhou, circa 369 – 286 BCE)

On a sunny day, at a quiet crossroads in Florida, 
I sat behind the wheel of my truck, minding the stop sign. 

I looked both ways.
Nothing was coming, nor going. 
Nothing was there. 
Nothing. Except me. 

And then…

an exquisite butterfly flitted silently across the road, 
like black and gold dancing together, and came to flutter 
above my cobalt blue truck, and finally settled down onto the hood, 
as if the truck were a giant fluorescing flower, and I, somehow, 
in my sudden ethereal state, was the nectar hidden deep inside. 

In that languorous moment, 
as its six delicate feet reckoned
with warm blue metal instead of soft blossom,
the butterfly slowly opened and closed its wings, 
as if pretending to fly, and the butterfly and I,
for the tiniest of instants, both believed 
I was a flower. 

And then… 

the sweet reverie melted and dissolved,
like a dream dilutes in the light of day,
like white smoke fades into blue sky,
as the butterfly skittered away,
streaking the air with graceful loops of color,
and I was left sitting alone in my cobalt blue truck
at a stop sign at an empty crossroads in Florida, 

Wondering, am I a flower? 

Or a man, believing he’s a flower? 

Or a flower, believing it’s a man?  

I exit the truck and stand in the intersection,
the intersection of time and space. 
I feel the heat on my back, and turn,
full-faced to the sun, to gather in the warmth. 
Slowly, I open and close my arms to the sky,
as if I had wings, pretending to fly. 

I shut my eyes, tightly, so I can see


T. S. Davis is the author of Sun + Moon Rendezvous, a book of poems, and is the former producer of the Seattle Poetry Slam. He’s performed his work around the US, including Manhattan, Chicago, and Seattle. Most recent publications include poems and essays in Rattle and other magazines. Mr. Davis is a retired Registered Nurse who lives in rural Arizona and writes creative nonfiction and Shakespearian sonnets.

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