Lost and Found by Diane Averill

Lost and Found

In the woods one day
the child me
found a black butterfly pendant
on a nurselog
covered with neon moss.

It had slipped from its chain
that in the soft rain
might have become a garter snake,
gone to ground.

I held metamorphosis in my palm
where it warmed, sending dark light
through gently closed fingers
clear into my veins.

There was no other girl in sight.
I remember not
looking too hard for her.

Charmed, I took it home,
then from place to place, moving
through adulthood.
It lives still in my jewelry box
and when I lift it from its resting place
its orange eyes look at me from far away.

Even after six decades
there is something curled in the antenna
of the girl who was once possessed by it

and I wonder if she remembers
what part of her child self
she lost that day.


Diane Averill is the author of Branches Doubled Over With Fruit (University of Florida Press) and Beautiful Obstacles (Blue Light Press), and Among Pearls Hatching (Dancing Moon Press). She has published in many anthologies and literary magazines including Calyx, Carolina Quarterly, Midwest Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Tar River Poetry, and The Carnegie Mellon-Anthology of Poetry. Her most recent poems can be found in Mom Egg Review and January Review. She taught English and poetry writing workshops at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City until retirement.