Joyce Compton Brown – Late Summer Butterfly

Joyce Compton Brown grew up in agrarian North Carolina, receiving degrees from Appalachian State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. She taught at Gardner-Webb university with occasional forays into workshops in poetry and Appalachian Studies. She has published primarily in regional journals such as Pine Song, which honored her with the 2020 Poet Laureate award, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and Kakalak. She has also published in Still: the Journal, Blue Mountain Review, and Broadkill Review. Her chapbooks are Bequest (Finishing Line, 2015), and Singing with Jarred Edges, Main St. Rag, 2018).

Late Summer Butterfly

He’s near graveyard white
though he should be velvet black.
Little pieces are gone,
the fringes and curves
that made him beautiful,
that made the world look
perfectly designed.

He looks like a grey leaf
stuck on a dry twig.
I’m trying to find some voice
in these days of measured time,
seeking to peel away
relentless words
of limitation.

I’m stuck here
grey and crawling,
ragged and torn,
He moves without his wings,
edges toward purple blooms,
his head deep in summer nectar.



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