i never used to chase butterflies
James Lineberger

i never used to chase butterflies
when i was a kid
and if one lit on me i wanted to kill
it or at least choke back
a scream the way its little legs bent and hung on
but after we lost our son and they
started landing
on barbara all the time like he was sending her private
messages from beyond i would stand under the old dogwood
and reach out to everything from monarchs
to the plain common
whites in the vegetable garden but there
would always be something
to interfere
like the noise from the neighbor’s leaf blower
or the sound of a cessna taking
off at the airport
or simply those fresnel-bathed pageants in the mind
that make everything seem staged
and fill the spirit with such doubt it wants
to catch just one
if only to tear the wings off the cheating
little fucker and watch it die