Brake lights, sudden flare of red
across the lanes of the 5 freeway
though they stretch open and clear,
the ease of a mild March Saturday.
Perhaps some broken tools bounced
from the back of a truck, or a tire
flung loose into lanes. Silence, then
a hundred swirls of yellow descend,
filling the air, hitting my windshield
in muted plops. Sound of raindrops,
but not rain, nor paper fluttering,
but something alive—bodies,
ripe fruit bodies colliding with
the unyielding glass and metal of my
two-ton car. Of all the two-ton cars
braking, swerving, slowing to a fraction
of the speed limit. There is no
avoiding them, no way to even see
but to turn on the wiper blades,
catching their crepe paper wings,
sweeping them into a motion not
their own. All of us just trying to get
where we’re going. The butterflies
set on a course toward new blossoms,
petals opened for their eggs.
My own course leading to my grandparents’,
where they open their moss-green door to me,
where I fall into their talcumed embrace.
Katherine Lo is a writer and high school English teacher living in Southern California. Her work has previously been published by Poet Lore, Rattle, CALYX, Qu, and Timberline Review.