Somewhere, swallowtails

A half-second, maybe.
No more.

You hang in the air,
a question too pretty to
diminish with answers, wings

opening and closing on
the hinge of your thorax,

bright lemon and black;
cyan patches,
splashes of orange.

Black, too, those perfect
points, limned in light.

A half-second to see you;
a half-second — no more —
to know a swallowtail,

like those you find
puddling in muddy shallows,
brightening the drab earth.

And then the windshield.

How readily life dispatches beauty.

Your small body, dispersed,
contains so much loss:

the dying child,
the squandered love,
the truncated promise.

(Time erodes what violence overlooks.)
What can we say of carnage?

Confess our complicity.
Protest our innocence.
State the one true thing:
how little we know.

Somewhere, swallowtails
are puddling in muddy shallows,
brightening the drab earth,

wings gently undulating,
questions too pretty
to diminish
with answers.




  1. pretty poem.


    1. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. slukwago · · Reply

    I simply echo the meaningful responses of all those before me. Thank you Rafiki


    1. You’re welcome.


  3. Oh so beautifully put together, perfect words. Thank you for sharing this Cate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re most welcome. Thank you for your appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, Cate – I took a long hike in the forest yesterday. It was a bit warm, but still a gorgeous day, and though our forests are usually very peaceful, it was unusually so yesterday, with only the bugs, birds, and other critters going about their day. I love when there are no human sounds, even when I listen hard. … Working my way up to a peak, it struck me how I was surrounded by such a complete cycle of life. All at the same time, plants were sprouting while trees were dying, birds were being hatched while other creatures were losing the battle as food for someone else, and flowers were blooming, being fed by the decay of previous life. As it was meant to be. … So it has been within my own circle of friends and family this past month, with babies being born and good souls passing on. A month that has created such a clash of emotions within me. And so I think of the forest. It is as it was meant to be. … I wish you well. -Russ


    1. I envy you your woods, Russ! I’m a little too much in the city here, but well recall experiences such as you describe when I lived in less populated places. Thank you for this lovely and apt reflection. I am wishing you well, too.


  5. Intense and meaningful!


    1. Thanks, Leah!


  6. Hard truths even when the smashed is relatively-speaking tiny and one of many… beautifully written.


    1. Thanks, Jazz.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.


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