The Butterfly Room

She could smell the bodies burning below, from the butterfly room, where she sat. Watching, waiting for her turn. It was to be a future of flames. Did she believe in God, did it matter? Because not long from now she would find out, what awaited her on the other side. Would she know the place she was going, would she remember where she was when she got there? Would someone be there to take her at the threshold – where maybe…just maybe – her old memories were waiting. Memories of other times just like this one…where in the end, she was ok…perhaps. Or would she just disappear into the blackest silence she could imagine?

Yes, she thought about these things as she watched the unmoving butterflies on the wall. The ones she had carved with a sharp stick as the days slowly passed. The ones she remembered from the sky. That flew. Before. When she was free.

She was still young, and she was beautiful. Of course that didn’t matter now. Because all that was coming to an end. It was almost her turn. One body per day was the rate at which they killed and burned. Those like her; the dark and the evil. The ones cursed by God. They celebrated these deaths as blessed victories of their piety.

So her body became a cocoon where she hid. Until there was nothing inside but the sound of rustling wings.

The killers believed they were doing God’s work. Nothing else mattered but their fear of forces beyond their control. Whether that force be a God or a Devil  it didn’t matter, only choosing sides and acting accordingly did. Which meant she was not on there side. Based on accusations and imaginings of what she did out in the forest. Unmarried, not clothed modestly. Behaving in ways that were inappropriate to those on God’s side. Yes, this was the idea they had of her and so; like the others being sent back to hell, she had to die.

In the butterfly room time was frozen and space was tight. Flaming crosses filled their eyes. Ashes and fumes rose as she scraped wings into the walls of her body…

imagining the flower on which she would land.

(life for her is my memory. she has no name)

Sharada Devi

3 thoughts on “The Butterfly Room”

  1. wow. i get the fierce gaze that comes with this type of poetic falling on the page… the fierce gaze that I want to embody, so as to not be on the other side, where the war games must end.

  2. Oh my.
    This, is written with such vivid, tragic beauty.
    It might be your best “story”ever.
    Because the imagery feels
    so heart achingly real.

  3. It’s hard to grade
    what you can’t control
    the that
    that slips out
    beyond what you
    intended to unfold
    you call it Motherhood
    but what do you know
    it’s not what you expected
    or what you were told,
    or maybe wanted
    It is what it is
    That what that slipped between your thighs
    or not..,
    & now or not
    has eyes that shan’t
    Be denied or leave you
    for a lifetime
    Or more
    Even being wise , might not be the escape route you thought you compromised
    Shape shifting takes on
    unimagined body language

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