Because the first bitter taste of grief is never preparation enough by Kelly Grotke

We stand beside each other and your shoulder brushes against mine like a wing and I remember as it passes how long ago, a monarch butterfly with five legs found me and stayed for two days when I was very small, holding on to my hand as I took it out to feed on the yellow flowers my mother had ringed around the house, flying back again to my waiting outstretched finger for us to go inside, my improbable friend but aren’t all friendships improbable in the wide eternal expanse of time where beginnings and endings are the illusions left us in the wake of passing motion? And how the next day I found him, angled gently upon the carpet, beautiful, still, and departed, that was the first time and no, not again please no, I can’t tell you this, not now and not ever because who would be the butterfly, and who the child? I could obscure the heavens with platitudes, and still want to say more, the game isn’t over, the money’s not gone, I know the winter snow is deep, tempting and petal-soft but spring is coming soon and the music still plays on, you are listening to it now as your face turns to mine with a smile and suddenly, so clearly, you take flight, mute as a butterfly I stand and watch the sounds of it all lift you up and if a soul can take leave of its troubles then you have just now.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Because the first bitter taste of grief is never preparation enough by Kelly Grotke

  1. Intense moment here, nicely written down.

  2. i loved this. i’ve read everyone’s, and yours is my favorite. the lyrical, expressive momentum here is terrific.

    • Kelly

      thanks very much, Len – momentum is what, in retrospect, I was trying to bring out – it can build up in ways almost outside real time, under the right circumstances. So I am very glad you got that from the piece.

  3. Fantastic writing as always Kelly. A powerful story that builds with each sentence.

  4. guy

    I was thinking that this was more linear than your other writings — and it is on one structural level. However, on a second reading, the time-looping stood out, so it still has that whirly-twisty Kellyness to it. I do like the contrast between the content and the freight-train sentences. That works on a couple levels: structurally/abstractly, as balanced elements & in terms of the narrative of doomed relationship.

    The more i think about this the more i like it. That’s momentum for you.

    • Kelly

      thanks, Guy – i always look forward to your comments (and have probably said that before, hehe, though belatedly now in this instance). the rush of the sentences, yes – interior time trying to catch up with that of the world which passes so quickly, for the sake of understanding

  5. Melissa McEwen

    I like the transition in the start of the story and how we are taken to another time in the narrator’s life:

    We stand beside each other and your shoulder brushes against mine like a wing and I remember as it passes how long ago, a monarch butterfly with five legs found me and stayed for two days….

    • Kelly

      thanks for reading Melissa – glad you liked that, I was trying to bring out a relation between memory, insight and emotion, and how that can shift the understanding of time

  6. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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