Butterflies

If maggots turned into butterflies, there would be no call
for embalming, formaldehyde, or even coffins.
all funerals would be held out in the open, last for days
and be an act of patience, waiting for the tiny grubs
to pupate, molt, grow bright colored wings and explode
from the confines of a corpse and into the air in a great, winged cloud.

Our mythology, our religions, would center on these bright butterflies
their life cycle inside our dead bodies, the ascension of our soul
as the insects take flight. It would be such an easy religion to believe in
such an easy religion to write songs about, draw pictures of
imagine in our last dreams, as we drift off to death ourselves.

***

A Quiet Conversation

My daughter answers the phone and I tell her to put the dog on
I want to talk to the dog. “Why do you want to talk to the dog?” she asks
and I can imagine her little forehead wrinkling up in confusion and amusement.
A moment later, my husband’s on the phone, wants to tell me about the dishwasher
something I got in the mail, some vague complaint
about being left alone with a kid for a whole week
while I gallivant around the country pursuing stupid, selfish things.

I wait until he’s done rambling before I also tell him I want to talk to the dog,
and after a moment, my daughter’s back on, my husband doesn’t understand
thinks it’s some euphemism for talking to her.
“Put the dog on the phone,” I tell my daughter. “I really need to talk to her.”
Because there’s still a small part of my daughter that’s childish and whimsical
and believes that dogs like to talk on the phone,
she complies, and I hear the dog’s frantic panting
on the other end of the line, she thinks she’s been called over for some kind of treat.

I tell her what a good dog she is, how much I miss her, ask her to be patient
I’ll be home soon, I tell her how much I love her.
“The dog’s not here anymore,” I hear my husband in response
he sounds irritated. “I don’t think she heard any of that.”

***

Holly Day’s writing has recently appeared in Analog SF, The Hong Kong Review, Appalachian Journal, and her recent book publications include Music Composition for Dummies, The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body, and Bound in Ice. She teaches creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and Hugo House in Seattle.