Blue Butterflies by Elizabeth Gibson

For this second of eight poems on the theme of changing identity, guest editor Degna Stone writes

With its rich imagery, this poem doesn’t dwell on any sense of loss but creates a fertile world where strength and beauty is found in what is, not on what might have been.
Blue butterflies

If my hairs are a forest on my face, then when I wrench

them out surely I should leave bare rock, and yet I still

feel a forest, soft moss in my skin, and you say my eyes

are the ocean, but if I lost my eyes you would still have

the ocean, sloshing in my mind, and for all the years I did

not bleed, my womb did not swell with walls of red maple,

my belly would flood with blue butterflies when I walked 

with you, and every part of me that responded to you

became a wildflower meadow. My earth was never barren.

E Gibson pic


Elizabeth Gibson was a winner at the 2017 Northern Writers’ Awards. Her writing has appeared in Antiphon, Cake, The Cardiff Review, The Compass, Creative Review, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Litro and The Poetry Shed. She edits the Word Life section of Now Then Manchester, tweets @Grizonne and blogs at


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