“The Butterfly Collector”
As captivating as an unexpected lightning storm,
with beauty similar to the orange harvest moon.
She is perfect.
Though, not untouchable.
And I contemplate to myself about how I must have her.
It should not be hard,
for I have lured many of the naïve into my sly subtle grasp.
And she will be just another of the unsuspecting.
Though… This one is proving more resistant.
Where it usually takes one,
now after putting three nets out there…
She is still rejecting me?
Which makes me crave her even more.
She is beautiful, kind.
Also, so very, very unstained.
You see, she thinks of us as friends.
She trusts me.
However, she couldn’t even fathom what I have in mind for us.
As wrong as it may be,
acting on the colorful whims that I thrive on.
I love what I am not allowed to have.
I pursue those that I cannot touch or hold,
Alas, were I to present myself as I am:
a collector trapped in my own attic—
surrounded by a darkness that’s been eating at me.
I most certainly would frighten the butterflies.
So I cover my face with that of a flower, wrap leaves around my extremities.
I draw her near, whimsically swaying under the sunlight,
whispering seductive secrets.
I tell her about my nectar, why she must taste mine.
And I think about how I must have her,
for she would prove to be a delectable center piece,
amidst all of the others before her,
that I have collected and placed above my mantle.
That is, until I realize that she, the beautiful, kind, unstained butterfly
is not a butterfly at all,
but a moth painted like a Monarch,
strong enough to devour my only camouflage.
And suddenly, I notice her hunger becoming insatiable.
She just keeps consuming;
First my mask, now my home,
until finally the floorboards begin to quiver under my feet.
And before long, they release my weight onto—into a cold, basement-like holding cell,
until I memorize each scuff on the concrete,
then they bring me to her.
I meet her gaze across a Federal courtroom.
I notice that her hair is longer than before; not blonde.
I remember that I missed her birthday—I wish she was still thirteen.
I watch her sink low enough to fuse into the bench that her family occupies.
I know that she brought us both here,
and, still, all I can think about is us.
*I began this poem a few months after the conviction in 2010 (and revised it slightly in 2014). I was taking a creative writing class at the LOFT Literary Center, and my teacher gave the class a prompt: write about an event in which someone hurt you, and write it from that person’s point of view.
Background: In the fall of 2009 (at age 13), I was targeted by an online predator, “S.” “S” was part of a child pornography ring that victimized numerous young girls between the ages of 11 and 13. Although, I was one of many, “S” took a particular liking to me–Sources relayed without prompting that I was his “favorite.” Luckily for me, the abuse only transpired for a few months.
I wasn’t allowed to have a Facebook account at this time, and my mother had caught me on the site one morning. This discovery sent her rummaging through my account, and (quickly) lead to her finding the messages that “S” had sent me. Immediately, she called the police (whom had been watching “S” for quite some time, but hadn’t had enough evidence to arrest him until then). “S” was arrested within a week after reporting. Then, promptly after the arrest, the case was handed over to the FBI, as it had entered federal jurisdiction. Later in 2010, “S” was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
I hope that he will die there.