Once, when I was more discontent than I knew,
Living among Vietnamese exiles in southern France,
I spent an afternoon trying to free a butterfly
Battering her yellow wings against a window
In an old stone barn that had been turned into a zendo.
Finally she trusted me and stood on my finger,
Saving herself with her surrender and redeeming me.

In open air, she flew away into the tall grass
Where three tiger kittens with yellow eyes
Played near the bamboo grove.
One pounced and ate her
And looked at me.
Yellow eyes,
So beautiful.