The Lifecycle of Butterflies

RE-PUBLISHED ON VELA MAGAZINE. This essay was a finalist for the 2013 Annie Dillard Prize and won that year’s essay prize from The Pinch, where it was published in the Spring 2014 issue. It is now available to read online compliments of Vela.

…Perhaps my navigational equipment is damaged. Perhaps I lack a homing device. But my lifecycle has remained on track: at the tock of thirty, as if by happenchance, I metamorphosed again, and this time my heart, once caged in my ribs, left my body, squalled at me from across the room, pulled up on the furniture, then toddled off in its own direction.

I watched him as I sunned myself on the roof of my home in Michoacán, my mind as blank with pregnancy as the sweep of November sky was blue. And I felt the flutters, the quickening, of my generational replacement.

Mira, I said to my firstborn, pointing skyward. Mariposas.

Toca, I said, guiding his small hand across the moonrise of my belly. Tu hermanito.