Home > Chapbook Finalists 2009 > Madame Butterfly and the Down Syndrome Kid

Madame Butterfly and the Down Syndrome Kid

September 12, 2009

From the 2009 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest finalist Influence of Two Moons, by Kit Loney

In the movie I never made, Philip enters
the art room, his walk a loping dance
and his hands ever churning in his pockets.
Fade in the orchestration,
Renata Scotto singing Un bel di, vedremo
as Philip contemplates the blank sheet,
the brush, the colors. Follow focus his hand
as he lowers bristles into yellow paint,
slowly brushes warm light onto the page.
Close-up on his eyes crossed in rapt
concentration as he repeats the process.
Take after take, each stroke is a wonder:
the way it starts narrow from the tip,
widens with the pressure of the brush,
then exhausts itself, like day giving into twilight.
The soundtrack swells with the soprano’s
picture of the sea within her heart,
its wide horizon, glittering harbor. Zoom in
as Philip applies blue, the lilting marks
lapping green into where the yellow
has not yet dried. He curls his tongue forward
to taste the salt ocean breeze.
Butterfly’s voice climbs with her longing, scales
steep-sloped waves, soars into towering clouds.
And now Philip smiles wide, delighted
over the curl action of his wrist as he swirls
white paint into the scene, filling the sails
of Pinkerton’s ship. It is a vessel made of drawing
paper. It surges through choppy waters,
splashes us with sunlit drops of brine.

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This poem previously appeared in the Poetry Society of South Carolina’s 2008 yearbook.

Kit Loney received the Poetry Society of South Carolina’s 2008 Carrie Allen McCray Prize, and 2007 DuBose and Dorothy Heyward Prize. Her work has appeared in the 2007 and 2008 Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets. Her day job is teaching middle school art.

  1. September 12, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Oh, good choice, Beth! This was one of my favorites, too. Such a marvelous close!

  2. September 19, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I was moved by the close, too. What a beautiful reading of a beautiful poem. I can’t wait to play the podcast to my wife, who teaches special ed kids and loves how they tick. Ms. Loney obviously does, too, and her expression — in the written and oral sense — is just right.

    • October 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm

      do u now were a kid can find a butterfly job?

  3. October 7, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    hay do u now where a kid can find a butterfly job?

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