We drove for days on end.
We drove until pines and lakes gave way to prairie flats.
In the flats, the butterflies came.
They floated, drifted, languidly,
all of a sudden caught up in wind tunnels caused by highway speeds.
We smiled at them, doing loopty-loops, catching themselves and flapping on
as if nothing had changed
as if they had not gone topsy-turvy
as if they had intended all along to change directions.
We smiled at them, hypothesizing about where they were going, why,
as cigarette smoke wafted out the front windows,
and re-entered through the back ones.
With our truck parked in a town, some town,
we heard the hum.
The hum was a hundred bees,
buzzing about the wings of the butterflies who hadn’t survived,
the wings that had wallpapered our front fender,
with iridescent paper,
and a subtle dust of yellow and white.
In an hour they were gone.