Paula Cisewski

The Word String Can’t Blister Your Hands

Someone says they’ve got a surprise
for you at the end of a string:

the etymology of your favorite thing’s word.
With interest you follow the string around bedroom

corners, through dimestores, and across ocean
floors until you find yourself

in an English pasture, staring at the end:
a little bow tied to the exo-skeleton

of a five hundred pound butterfly. There is a note
coiled in its proboscis like a good dog

with your slippers. Translated by the first
able stranger, the note

is said to read: The wings
are perfectly preserved and

somewhere in Iceland. You wonder at how
old you’ve become and who else

is not to be trusted
with language.