If the Fluttering of Butterfly Wings by Cathy Ulrich

If you are on a walk with your brother’s wife and she gets hit by a car. If she turns into a kaleidoscope of butterflies upon impact, whirling into the air. If the driver peels away, spitting gravel from beneath his tires. If you hold still till all the butterflies come to nest on you. If they are yellow and black and soft as tissue paper. If you take the butterflies home. If they don’t drift away. If you put them onto your sister-in-law’s bed in an approximation of her shape. If their wings part and close. If you close your eyes and open them again. If you still see butterflies on your sister-in-law’s bed. If you close your eyes again and again. If you say: Come home, sister-in-law, come home, and all you hear is the fluttering of butterfly wings.

Cathy Ulrich loves learning the names of different kinds of animals. One of her favorites is “a clowder of cats.” Her work has been published in a variety of journals, including Paper Darts, Corvus Review and The Airgonaut.