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Chasing Butterflies

We forget as adults what childhood felt like, how fragile yet invincible we were. How we dreamed bigger and carelessly. Poet Huntor Prey talks about how we transform in his poem “Chasing Butterflies.”

Chasing Butterflies

At times I look at an open field and search for butterflies

With a child’s eye I still search for them

And when I find one I run

Knowing that if I can maybe catch it or up to it

It may show me my path

How I can be free just like it

How I can fly in a zig zag pattern of a straight line

 And my small wings can create a hurricane theory of progress

With wind at my back and air under my feet

(I can be like it, and it can be with me)

Ya know I used to just watch butterflies before I chased them

At three dragging my Grammie  and the bus driver off the metro

To observe the monarch perched upon his dandelion throne

Just say look. See. Look. See.


It was the only way to explain the joy in being the king of ones destiny

I wanted to mirror that

To emulate grace when sitting on a chair made of weeds and issues

And know still there is beauty

Caught in a delicate dance

Chase, pursue, step back

Reach out, move close, retract,

So close, run back

Romancing every step inhaling

The pollen off its wings like I’m searching for fuel in its jet stream

To keep up and hold pace

Love of you delirium awaits in my hands

Be careful

I don’t want to contain you in a jar or place you in scrap book to admire the death of you

I just hope that in my chasing you would choose me

With my fingers around you, you didn’t disappear into the sunset

And look into those butterfly eyes and say I belong to you

I will protect you and still flaunt you as my prize

That you are my dream like that house, and wife on red rose lane

When the bills are paid and concrete jungles won’t matter

Dark days will shatter because you illuminate like fire flies

That the remnants of fallen twigs in my past won’t tell that at times I am a weak tree to land on

That I am not always in bloom to feed you

That I love your freedom

And trapped by my roots to the ground

Huntor tells us what drove this poem:  "This piece actually took a while to manifest. I wanted to capture what it meant for an adult, working 9-5s, or just caught in the throws of life, to still have dreams. Things they have always wanted to do since childhood. How do you hold on and keep that innocence and energy while growing older? If you fall short of your dreams, was it worth it?  Remembering that kids used to chase butterflies brought those themes together in a great metaphor.”

PROMPT:  Take some time to remember when you were a kid. Recall dreams or nightmares, scenes from when and where you played. Try to focus on the where and when, on your senses. What smells, what do you taste, when you walk around and your arm brushes a chair or the wall, what do you feel? What did you look like? What did you wear? Barefoot, playing outside? Or couch with game controller? Write about being a kid. Try to stay away from nostalgia, that slippery slope of sun-washed memory, and stick with the realities of being a kid. Write three short poems about the same scene or moment. They can be from different points of view or in three different styles.

ANOTHER PROMPT: Narrative poetry tells a story, generally using line breaks. Flash fiction tells a story without line breaks like poetry, but it may only be 200 or fewer words. Think of a moment from childhood and tell us the story. You don’t have to be accurate about everything - poetry and fiction are not documentary. Let the story write itself. Then play around with how it rests on the page. Should what you have written have line breaks and look as a poem looks? Or should it read out as sentences like micro fiction or flash fiction? How can you maintain the story while keeping it under 200 words? Under 100?

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