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The Other Side

Will it hurt much? she asks

It’s a few drops by mouth, mom.

It won’t hurt

I’m ready

She opens her mouth like a baby bird

We hold hands, quiet together

I’ll contact you from the other side, she says

OK, how will I know it’s you?

She looks to the window

It will be a queasy feeling, she says

Queasy? I don’t want queasy. I want butterflies and puppies.

She smiles, closes her eyes, drifts back to sleep

After she’s gone,

After tending to death and details,

I fly to warmer weather

Familiar trails and beaches comfort me, exactly the rest I need

Three days in a row, my stomach aches

The first day, I look out over the blue sea

It must be the time change

The second day, I marvel at the white sandy shore

It must be something I ate

On the third day, I hike to the highest view of the island

I pause, hand on an uneasy stomach

A yellow butterfly flits by

A rollercoaster of sunshine, a sine wave of butter

Then a blue butterfly outlined in black

They dance in mid-air

Rest on a branch, wings open and close, a slow greeting

They float along with me,

Then flap away with my ache

About the Author

Linda Castronovo lives and writes in western Massachusetts, ancestral land of the Nipmuc and Pocumtuck People. She makes her home with her husband, a yellow lab, a black cat, and a dozen chickens on a tiny hobby farm with fruit trees, berry bushes, and too many weeds. Nature is still a daily wonder.

1 Comment

Aug 09, 2022


what an exquisitely poignant and tender poem! Thanks for sharing it here!


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