She collected them all her life, a twenty-by-twenty grid under glass,
399 specimens labeled with time and place, memory of flight pinned
with needles to cork — Euphilotes rita, Lycaeides melissa samuelis,
Danaus plexippus, Lymantria dispar — the last space, for specimen
Under glass, the unlucky sleep, still — wings wide open — married to cork.
She collected them all her life, dropping them one by one into the killing jar,
pinning them carefully through leg, wing, and thorax in bisections chosen,
it seemed, to showcase leg joints or patterns of wing. But she put them away
when she was finished. She kept them in the kitchen cupboard. It was not
about the dragon scale display of wings.
It was the act of hovering, needle in hand, over the board in the kitchen. It was
the act of inserting pin into exoskeleton, dreaming of flight as she transfixed