Natasha Dennerstein

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Kupa Kupa Malam (Butterfly of the Night)

You didn’t need to die of silicone
poisoning, Poppy, in your backyard
search for affordable Beauty
in the alleys of Denpasar. Go for a walk,
my friend, through the Gardens of the
Water Palace of the Rajah of Karangasem.


Pelan pelan, my friend, walk slowly.
Kupa kupa – yellow and purple butterflies – might
land on your shoulder. You might
hear the wedding-cake fountains plashing,
and the giant fern-fronds rustling in
the cool afternoon breeze.


If you look around you might see some
bright red hibiscus bunga, and heliconias.
Pink bougainvillea, bonsai’d in ceramic
pots might wave to you. You could
smell the ylang-ylang incense of the holy
man, lit before he enters the holy water


that gurgles up from the ground then
gravity-feeds to fill the ponds, the lakes,
the fish streams that gurgle, gurgle all
day long. Listen, Poppy, and you might
hear the giggles and shrieks of  the little
laki laki as they wash and splash after school.


May golden light illuminate you, in a
cinematic way. May a tiny starling
fly past your head. May you rest
your sore feet in a cool, clear pool,
Poppy. Mempi manis, my dear,
sweet dreams and selamat tidur.

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