At the moment I cupped the water in my hands
And tossed its glittering suffering into the air
I wondered if I was dashing it to its death.
So delicate. So beautiful. So ill-prepared
For a world of chlorinated water
And savage boys. And then it lay bedraggled
On the cement, in a dark stain of fluid.
How cold, I wondered, is cold water
To a creature so small that it breathes
By letting the air flow through it as it flies?
I shivered and watched, as my groin
Tightened, and the cold gripped me.
"I've killed it," I thought. It lay still.
The wind blew, and dried the stain,
And its four wings trembled.
Then as I watched, one feeler curled
With deliberation. It gathered its legs
Underneath it. I was stung by its gold and black,
By its glistening determination. I am wounded
To this day, by the pain of its survival.
It flew, unsteadily,
Into a grove of bamboo, and I lost it
In the crossing daggers of their leaves.