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by Christopher Fields

The butterflies won’t leave Alice alone.  

She sits in the doctor’s waiting room Their hands first touch

for five minutes or fifty, hunger a bezoar rolling 

across her stomach’s tight knuckles  

amid the constant fluttering,

yesterday’s meal shake breakfast long passed.

She thinks of her Marlon departed in August, 

or was it September?   as they part the milkweed

Finally, they let her in: eyes down on screens,

ears closed to her confusion.  Heartbeat     shivers    

moments too late for hearing.  searching for smoldering wings

She is losing weight, her ballast falling away.

She and Marlon were going to move to Mexico 

and watch the Monarchs fly in. She’d caught 

herself watching the sun crash into horizon’s anvil 

every October evening, as she does now that she’s home.   

The ventilator sighs and empties his chest

Wings’ rustling grows all around her 

and she startles, swats at their whispers, 

backpedaling furious, impotent staccato inches.

In spite of everything the picture window

catches her eyes again when her feet snag 

Extracting dreams of Michoacán

and she plunges backwards for the last time, 

body flexing only as gently as does a falling tree, 

crown gathering momentum She clasps his hand

Her mind slowing even as her brain moves faster. 

To her this final descent takes over an hour,

fluttering cloak of dusk looming ever closer to her eyes, 

deep ember and coal hues fracturing 

into thousands of white-spotted wings pressing in 

to bear her away in migration.  

imagines for both of them

She had been late in leaving 

but nature would not be denied now.

Together in the sun at last


Christopher Fields (he/him) edits Neologism Poetry Journal from western Massachusetts.  His writing may be found in Meat for Tea, Midwest Quarterly, Coffin Bell, Three Line Poetry, and We Were So Small.  He can be found on Twitter/Bluesky.


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