Will it hurt much? she asks
It’s a few drops by mouth, mom.
It won’t hurt
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.