Butterflies Think With Their Feet

A Performance Piece written and performed by Michelle Parker

Butterflies Think With Their Feet, written and originally performed by Michelle Parker at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City.

I came out of the womb declaring war against the world. A nappy headed woman who never had the opulence to be a little girl born to a nappy headed woman who never had the opulence to be a little girl who was born to the same. Skin light enough to digest but tongue made of fire, they quickly spit me back up. Woman and Black woven into my spirit, the perpetual hand I was dealt and love so dearly. A butterfly, enthralling each flower that grows near my garden, completely oblivious to my form, unaware of this environment. A praying mother was nearly the most aggressive offense to the world, right after this black woman inheriting such an eminent trait. At twelve a woman whispered in my ear and told me caterpillars don’t always become butterflies. It’s dependent upon their environment and food, sometimes they become moths. The first crime performed against me decided my fate. My mouth was forced open before I ever desired a taste. My head was drawn back and filth was poured down my throat leaving a bitter taste to infect the rest of my body. A moth. The sweet fruits of God’s labor were occluded, I refused it. Unable to believe that honeysuckle taste was for me. It must be something I stole quietly, like my shadow on the floor. It was under these circumstances I breathed outside my mothers body for the first time. My lungs grasped for air, unable to recognize what I had just gone through. I luxuriated in my daydreams for hours on end, my feet on the floor simply didn’t make sense. My mother continued to deterge, too in place to carry me any further. We were no longer mirrors, instead a reflection in water, slightly distorted, not quite the same. I chased tails, stomped feet, and danced under a sky of cataclysm. Twisting and turning desperate to separate myself from the terrible crime I performed against the world and the forgotten crime that was performed against me. Like lady in yellow my spirit is too ancient to understand the separation of soul and gender but I never considered my love too delicate to have thrown back in my face. My cup was half empty, back so weary, and these shoulders. My goodness, please straighten them. No charm, no symmetry. A moth. However I remained with a praying mother. My soul wept and pleaded for chapters like David in the book of Psalm. It wasn’t until I opened my own mouth and allowed myself to taste those fruits. Those sweet, planted, grown, gathered, washed, packaged, sent with a love note fruits.
What a terrible crime to survive as a moth when I could live as a butterfly.

A Michelle Parker production. Published by The Literary Purveyor. © 2023 Text and Performance by Michelle Parker. All Rights Reserved.


1 Comment

  1. Roxanna says:

    Michelle Parker what an amazing performance. you have indeed chosen to live as a butterfly …. Continue to spread your wings and fly.

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