Butterfly Instrumental in Pismo Beach

by Brenda Yates


Colorless in the damp

chill of early gray light


long clumps of monarchs

hang from branches


of eucalyptus and pine

till sun


in thin shafts

excites the air


like a conductor’s baton

beginning to stir the flutes.


Struck by light

a few release their hold


and drift down,

prelude of mournful notes.


But then

the body trembles


gives way to clouds of fire,

crescendo of gold wings


together, apart

rising up


through the trees

as with one urge.


Some desire

like a phantom ache


resonates my dense

wingless body.


B YatesBrenda Yates is from nowhere. She grew up in Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Japan and Hawaii, settled in Boston, then Los Angeles. Her poems appear in journals including Askew, Brain of Forgetting, Chaparral, Cider Press Review, Coe Review, DASH, Eclipse, Ilanot Review, Illuminations, In Posse Review, Kattywompus, Mississippi Review, Mixitini Matrix, Pearl, Princemere Journal, Sliver of Stone, Spillway, StepAway, and the anthologies Blue Arc West: California Poets (Tebot Bach), City of the Big Shoulders: Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press), Manifest West (Western Press Books) and Southern Poetry, Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press). She’s a Pushcart nominee and recipient of Beyond Baroque’s Literary Arts Poetry Prize, a Patricia Bibby Memorial Prize and honorable mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Contest.

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