butterfly tea


mama liked irony, so when she wrote about making butterfly tea and serving it to guests, i didn’t quite know whether to take her words at face value, because doing so would ask me to consider that she was some kind of witch. if she were, i’d hope to goodness she was more like glinda than the one that reminds me of the hulk.

she’d written about her fondness for butterflies, and of appreciating their final painting much more than the process they’d endured to graft wings. she felt their beauty was too short-lived, and that god would never have intended that kind of art to fly back to the nails on his clouds so quickly. she described walking through her garden gathering dead butterflies, and of the process she used to dry them out and turn them into ‘tea leaves.’

she wasn’t into cucumber sandwiches or any of that sort of ceremony, but whenever guests arrived, she described what seemed to me, an elaborate fascination with serving butterfly tea. she never told visitors that they were drinking dried and powdered butterfly wings, but she did take pride in having a fine set of painted teacups, adorned in butterflies, of course.

she said visitors were always more colorful going than coming. i’ll always wonder if it was the tea or mama’s irony.


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