Willing the Tide to Turn
blue as love, is just inches away, but a million
tortoiseshell butterflies are suddenly ominous, you’ve
released them from a bright lacquered box, they should
never have been imprisoned. They clatter to the ground,
pins through their thoraxes. Their pain erupts in my belly.
walker once shared a box of chocolates
with me; he had a broken foot, sepsis set in, he said
if he rested, lay still, he would soon be overcome
by snails, he found this funny, me too, I knew
it would be a better ending than what I’ve endured
you. Sometimes the rain is soft, sometimes I want
to stop all the clocks, to build a new life from tiny pieces
of coloured paper, to fashion twisted juniper trees,
fallen walls, to consider your reflection—it’s still there—
fear you’ve forgotten all but the small sad songs.
You exist in the delirious smell of old dust and I don’t know
what you see. Tick… nothing happens, nothing happens,
nothing happens… tock. Still nothing.
back to me. We’ll ride the old rockets again,
the ones with the leather-stropped windows,
the small round lightbulbs. Come back to me.
butterflies crunch and snap underfoot.
I smell burning and your face appears like a spell in the air—
we turn towards the sea, and its waiting silence aches.
Catherine Edmunds is a writer, artist, and fiddle player with award nominated Irish folk/rock band ‘Share the Darkness’. Her published written works include two poetry collections, four novels and a Holocaust memoir. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, shortlisted in the Bridport four times, and has works in journals including Aesthetica, Crannóg and Ambit. Catherine lives in North-East England between the High Pennines and the grey North Sea.
Editor’s Notes: Image is https://www.deviantart.com/robbendebiene/art/Butterfly-Small-Tortoiseshell-526270727 combined with https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/08/16/Millions-of-butterflies-swarm-Lake-Tahoe/9621565958795/