KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Prose Poem: 201 words

Late Spring

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

All the butterflies waited on the biggest white pine. Their black and blue wings were folded like envelopes. Their orange wings were folded like origami cups, and their yellow wings looked like ticket stubs. The tree would have bowed under their weight if they had weighed anything. They waited for spring because she always came to them with pollen and nectar, but she was late. They’d waited for weeks in the cold, and their shivering shook the limbs. Any remaining snow fell on the shoulders of the earth. A monarch plunged to the ground, dead. Then another like autumn suddenly, butterflies cascading down like maple leaves. Then from far away the sound of migratory birds, closer until spring in her bright green robes. She gathered up the fallen monarchs, swallowtails, painted ladies in her hands and breathed her warm words onto them, “I’m so sorry. So sorry.” They stirred, twitched and came back to life. She glittered pollen all over the tree and nectar kissed the branches like powdered sugar. Only one swallowtail was lost, but that was one too many. She tucked him in her pocket with the other agonies to remind her she was far from perfect.


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