Sujata Bhatt

She Flies High

She flies high, this Malaysian Tree Nymph —

White wings transparent with black loops —

Snow leopard spots —

Pale grayish white
with black spots, and veins dusted black —
Yes, black-dusted.

Higher and higher, she flies close to the treetops —
A lost scarf, a lost ribbon
         carried away by the wind —

Rice paper,
paper kite tree nymph —

and the snow leopard design on her wings
                 opens and opens —

Soul of a leopard.

We say she’s full of kindness;
we say she’s elegant and able
            to speak with trees.

But maybe she’s not.
Maybe she’s bitter and mean,
simply oozing viciousness, waiting to grow back into a leopard —

And now, watch her resting on a leaf,
                           wings erect,
and then, hanging upside down, her wings
gathered together like ruffles on a skirt
Audrey Hepburn might have worn.