By the Brazos River a butterfly crossed my path;
twice it waved its wings when I cried already missing you,
wished we had taken you one last time before
to wade in the water; you couldn’t walk, but you wanted to.
We carried you everywhere the last four days
you were with us, we pet you because we didn’t know
when would be the last time.
I wanted to believe in reincarnation; I couldn’t let you go.

It’s so quiet at home where you used to be.
There is despair and hope and regret and love inside my body.
I plead into silence and the butterflies appear;
I want to believe it’s you, reborn coming to show me,
but I hate this loss, this empty house, the grief.
I want something as real as you, not blind belief.

Selected byMaria Mazzenga
Image credit:Kaci Skiles Laws

Kaci Skiles Laws is a closet cat-lady and creative writer who reads and writes voraciously in the quiet moments between motherhood and managing Crohn's Disease. She was a 2023 winner for Button Poetry's short form contest, and her short story Eugene was nominated for a pushcart prize in 2022 by Dead Skunk Mag. Her most recent poetry has appeared in 3Elements Review, River Teeth Journal, Blood Tree Literature, and elsewhere. Her poetry books, "Strange Beauty" and "Summer Storms" are available on Amazon, and her most recent chapbook, "Smile, Child" is available from Bottlecap Press.