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Two poems by Amanda N. Butler

Updated: May 8, 2019

An Element of My Own


Sometimes I am fire –


blue tongues lapping at my cuticles

blue veins stoking my beating crucible

palm to leaf, palm to ash

a forest furnished with my furnace

see me direct this drought

as I’m the inferno you couldn’t put out


Sometimes I am water –


waves rolling in low-tide exhales

saltwater words with fresh intention

an undertow of heart and soul,

or a calm that reflects antler’s velvet

scratched on the foaming surface,

letting the bubbles float, and go


Sometimes I am steam –


a burning fog, neither and both

a bilateral union of the

visible and unseen.

Whispering, willowing tendrils,

the sky inhales my billows

until I dissipate in forgiveness.




when I found the beach photo from ‘93


With ginger fingertips I peel the picture from your scrapbook – I never had time to make my own

– careful, careful with the edges – the tape is yellowing, a caution of time –


Before photos faded

to the color of nostalgia –

when family meant more

than names on stone –

I wanted to possess the sunset shore

and take it home in my tiny hands


I flip over the weightless moment – letting myself hope for a message, a date, anything –


(Why, when I try to picture your face,

does the memory of sun burn my eyes?)


There is Me Before and Me After,

and I wish they could meet

so After can tell Before

that they will be okay,

that footprints wash away but

that beach will stay.


At least – in this frozen moment – we are together – you hold my hand –




Amanda N. Butler (she/her) is a queer poet from Florida. She is the author of chapbooks with dancing girl press and Origami Poems Project. She is also the author of the verse novel The Mermarium. Her poems have been published in rose quartz magazine, Haikuniverse, Hedgerow, and others with work forthcoming. She is the Poet Laureate of Oldsmar.

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