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Courtship of the Cabbage Butterfly
by Ruth Mota

He hovered like a white-flamed metronome.

Fluttered back and forth, measuring time

beside our garden hedge. She perched, obscured -

a tiny trembling sail behind a leafy curtain - until

in streak of light, she flew, spiraled upward, he in hot pursuit.

Their luminescent wings wove a glittered braid

across the bright blue canvas of an autumn sky.


Round they whirled, a maypole dance reversed

that ribboned upward. But never once a touch.

An enticing courtship ritual, but did I miss the sex?

Confused, I had to learn the meaning of this tumble.

Get this! Turns out the act itself provides a duller show.

While still earthbound, he wraps his wings around her closed ones

and seconds later, when he’s done, he drags her off, then drops her.


The glorious dance I witnessed - a rejection flight.

A lofty no, rarer than the act. What made it so?

His scent, his moves, dark markings ugly to her taste?

Her motive for rejection may not be understood

any more than mine, of men who’ve marked my time.

You might say, in her case, instinct ruled, not a reasoned voice

but still you must agree, this lady made a choice.

Ruth Mota lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California where, after a career as an international health trainer, she has settled to write poetry. Over fifty of her poems are featured in online and print magazines, including The Atlanta Review, Gyroscope Review, Duo and Terrapin Books.

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