Routes Back

A pelting against the windshield -

like oil colors on a well-used pallet -

and my son's eyes never looked aside

for the miles the painted ladies came like rain.

Migration. Unpredictable in some

species, but certain as history and not hard

to explain as we hurled toward the Rockies

on the route we'd traveled every year of his life.

He asked how the butterflies knew about freeways,

and laughed when we laughed.

Had we stopped to isolate the vision

of wings, what origins of memory

would have urged our passage? the aisles of throbbing

toward Canada joined to our hearts' dark hinge

of wing-beats - quickened through the pelting;

the veining between us of a psalter

for a thousand miles of flight... alive,

alive.

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