Annie Dillard notes that a male butterfly
will ignore a living female
of his own species
in favor of a painted cardboard one
if the cardboard one is big,
bigger than he is,
bigger than any real
butterfly could ever be

He jumps the cardboard
he jumps the cardboard over & over
meanwhile nearby, the real living female
butterfly opens & closesher wings in vain

Lovers who may appear “larger than life”
--in psychotherapy, this phenomenon
is called idealization
and its counterpart, devaluing

I saw it at work in a session yesterday:
the woman he was idealizing & trying to merge with
--you could see it was never going to work;
meanwhile, he continued to ignore the woman
who was actually loving him

It happens all the time
I’ve done it myself
--jumping the cardboard