The Poverty Heroes

Little Metalmark Butterfly

Much in North America is less brilliant than in the tropics. Not Juno. His metal is polished with brilliance, bluish-gray and tiny, offset with brownish-orange, sailing through the grassy areas in open sandy pine woodlands. More than 1300 versions of Juno exist in Central and South America.

Let’s revise then his entrance: metallic gold and blue specks on copper-colored wings. Let’s sit down and think about this. It’s a long way from breakfast to understanding, and each evening we’ve been arriving at eating thistle before folding over a lengthy sleep.

Perhaps we shouldn’t understand yet what happened. It holds too much responsibility, and we are young enough to know better. Right now I’m trying to turn coffee beans into something I can drink and words into a question I can actually answer.

Everything is changed by direction. One thing becomes another even if you only stand still and wait for yesterday. And yet we hadn’t dropped the new predators into the soup yet, cooling on the ledge. Nostalgia was king.

There are lots of times I don’t see myself so much in others, even those who see themselves in me. Maybe I’ll have to find a better place to live, one further away from what I already know. Maybe I’ll talk to someone there who seems just like me, but if it’s only the way my rebellious heart beats that I hear in his considerate words, we’ll have to shut all the poverty down. It could be a long story.

The heroes keep right on coming though they seem ordinary by sunset. What we understand does not seem to advance though it keeps right on refreshing itself and we continue talking to it, a brilliant stranger who seems to think he knows us.

Rich Ives has received numerous awards for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography, including from the National Endowment for the Arts. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (Bitter Oleander Press), Sharpen (The Newer York), The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking (What Books) and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press).