It is just a wall.
Plain and cream.
With a tree. A river. Flowers.
With dozens of little butterflies painted on.
Each butterfly has a name and a date under it.
Name – of a child.
Date – when the child died to become a butterfly.
All had become butterflies after they died of AIDS.
All of them contracted it from their parents.
All were abandoned or are orphans because of AIDS.
I saw the wall years ago. I never can forget it. I never can get over it.
There is a lonely wall in a far far away land
A land of promise, of incredible and unimaginable riches
Where the earth regularly belches up
Women’s best friends from tiny unassuming niches.
The wall is part of a room in the middle of a conspicuous nowhere
Where eyes are perpetually widened spotting big game
Clueless and immune to the many miserable little ones
being stoically enacted without the balm of fame.
The room is in an artificial village of necessity and need
Where butterflies flutter having no wild in their fate
But live as tiny splotches of color on a shared sacred wall
With a unknown name and a heartbreaking date.
This room has mothers who have borne not a single child
and yet have ten creatures they hold, all the while admitting
That they wish them a poignant goodnight and goodbye
Every night, not knowing which is more befitting.
This village is in a country which sees millions every year
White, black, yellow, brown merge as one ignorant soul
But different from tiny faces the color of mocha
Carrying a dark demon within them eating them whole
When the country meets the village as it must sometimes
A heart will fall for a suffering blameless face
But the morning will come again and it will look but find
Once again it is gone without a trace.
Maybe the village will hear the cries of – Where did he go?
Maybe a search among the proxy mothers standing tall
But if that heart keeps up the futile search, it will find
Mocha face with the others -A paint blotch butterfly on the wall.