A yellow swallowtail flew directly
into the spray this morning,
as I watered my garden.
It landed upside down in the mulch,
pale side to the sun,
unhurt, but too wet to right itself.
It’s abdomen throbbed with breath,
the way mine does when
I cannot sleep for the memories.
A gentle boost
flipped the butterfly upright.
It hesitated, parted stuck wings,
crawled beneath a peony to dry.
When I returned
the air was sweet with perfume.
Patricia L. Goodman is a widowed mother, grandmother and great grandmother and a graduate of Wells College with a degree in Biology and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She spent her career breeding, training and showing horses with her orthodontist husband, on their farm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She now lives in northern Delaware, where she enjoys writing, singing, birding, gardening and spending time with her family. Many of her poems have been published in both print and online journals and anthologies and she was the 2013 and 2014 winner of Delaware Press Association’s Communications Contest in poetry. She teaches Advanced Poetry Writing with her friend and colleague Betsey Cullen at Wilmington’s Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning. Her first full-length book of poetry Closer to the Ground, was a finalist in the Dogfish Head Poetry Contest, and was published in August, 2014 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. In 2015 she received her first Pushcart nomination. Her second book, Walking with Scissors is due to be published in 2019 by Kelsay Books. Much of her inspiration comes from the natural world she loves.