It was the before-times,
as we like to say.
Before the return of the drought.
Before loss
piled on loss
after loss.

The late afternoon shone golden
through my dusty windshield.
My teeth vibrated
with the boom
of someone else’s music
as I waited for the light
to change.

And then
             the air
was dancing,
like confetti,
or ash
from a canyon fire.

The winter rains had been good that year.
The desert bloomed
                            in butterflies
that now made their way
to this grimy stretch
of Venice Boulevard
on this shimmering afternoon.

When the light turned green,
The butterflies flitted
over and around the moving cars,
an endless stream.
In the next lane a toddler
whooped in his carseat,
reached out as if to catch
wonder in his hand,
and I pictured my daughter,
walking home now from school,
surrounded by butterflies.

I was long past believing
in magic,
or so I thought.
Then the butterflies came,
and I almost believed
we could count on rain
and wildflowers
and butterflies.

Melissa Fitzpatrick lives in the Los Angeles area. Her flash fiction appears or is forthcoming in CHEAP POP and Corvid Queen. This is her first published poem. Connect at Twitter @mfitzwrites