by Barbara Daniels

A red-spotted butterfly bursts up
and comes back, choosing me.
Half of one wing has been torn away.

Deep blue shimmer, white froth trim
on its trailing edge, another butterfly
lands in leaves just over my head.

After I fooled the doctors and lived,
I began watching butterflies. Blue,
white, butter yellow, they suck up

salts from puddles, tip and turn
through blooming clover. The dark
house is shut, the day long and fragrant.

I’m taking the light cure, the cure
by landscape, the cure by compound
eyes, forewing and hindwing, delicate

antennae, tiny sensory hairs.
An emperor drops from a hackberry
to rest resplendently on my leg.


BARBARA DANIELS’ book Rose Fever was published by WordTech Press and her chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, WomenArts, Mid-American Review, The Literary Review, and many other journals. She received three Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


Photo: “Purple Emperor” by Charlie Jackson