March 2019

Back to Issue 5

The Butterflies

By Maree Reedman


My mother in hospital     wearing flannelette pyjamas            

white knee-high compression stockings     like an aged schoolgirl

blue eyes seeping into her white     hair and arctic sheets.

She asks for more pyjamas     not gaudy red ones.


Country and western music     leaks across the corridor

my mother worries     she hears things      inside her head.

She tries to walk     leaning against     the physiotherapist

her knees buckle     and her feet cross over each other     as if they’re confused.


One morning     just before lunch     butterflies flutter      inside the ward

first just one     yellow     another     orange     then clouds     lime  crimson  fuchsia

wings of sun and firelight     we watch in silence

until my mother asks,     Are they for me?