Northwords Now Issue 39

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Butterflies

by Amelia Graham

I had never seen so many of them before.

It was as if they had all come home and settled
after some great migration, but then
of course, they couldn’t settle;
they were newly born.  
There were so many that they began to burst through
the cracks of the house
and filter through our rooms,

As if freedom was an interior thing,
Searching for the next cocoon.

So often, within each of those panelled rooms, they became
crushed and dusted by my cat’s paws,
Her hot mouth expectant for them,
For one to come through a window’s seam and flitter
towards that bulbed light in the hallway
I left on after dark.
Blindly batting against a false heat.

In those summered nights, I would listen to their fumblings,  
Until I couldn’t hear them moving anymore;
and I would know that she had got them all, one
by one,
Their small bodies arching for one last bit of sun,
As I let them die amongst the dark.