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Robin Morris


Bernouilli's Butterflies

Now I believe her, my fifth grade teacher
who taught us why shower curtains
suck in towards skin and weighty planes
heave up through sky. The faster an object moves,
the more its surrounding air pressure decreases.

It flutters inexorably towards my windshield;
then, a scant centimeter before annihilation,
another swallowtail sweeps straight up.
Seemingly suicidal, these butterflies turn out
to be joyriding, catching updrafts of oncoming traffic.

Sparrows are too massive for this trick.
I'd have to be driving much faster
to avoid slammed brakes and recriminations
provoked by the sickening thud against windshield.
In case fearless birds get ideas, I accelerate.

Mrs. D., believing ten year olds could also learn thermodynamics,
taught us that matter can never become nothing.
I still can't prove it.
In my rear view mirror, I see the swallowtail
gliding up on my current, nearing power lines.

Thinking this event cousin to a comet sighting,
I wish for such resilience of wings: the absolute faith
that, for the sake of a thrill, whisks you
from squashed bug status to angelic, all on a breath—
if either the world speeds up or you turn light enough.


After receiving an MFA in poetry at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Robin Morris went on to pursue her doctorate there and is currently completing a dissertation on poetry and place called Recovering Ground. She hopes to emulate Ms. Dickinson and never leave Amherst. Her poems have appeared in Lilith, American Literary Review, Lowell Review, Windhover, the forthcoming issue of North American Review and online in Salt River Review.

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