Madame Butterfly
By Ken Haas    

She was the kindest woman anyone knew, though to me
the grandma who wanted to talk when the Yankees were on.
How school was. If I had nice friends. Her pastille breath,
Galore perfume and mashed potato breasts the organs of
suffocation. Armchair bound by gout with a taut bob of
pewter hair, ringed by jardinières of lilies, she fed me
apples with the tart skin pared off. Her promise had
moved a stiff-necked man to quit their homeland,
where he was sure reason would return. But
as she would tell me when we had taken in
yet again the scuffed rendering of her favorite
Puccini and I’d remarked on the stupidity of
the heroine sacrificing herself for a jerk,
the story is just housing for the music.
Which I’ve repeated since to women
in suits and stilettos nonplussed by
Cio-Cio San’s delicacy, the blade
of her voice calling to those who
have lost the trail of love that
you can start again here,
boxed in brilliance,
hanging by a