BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE?
It’s 1960 North Toronto Jewish ghetto
What does the air smell like? Thick with
peonies mums & death Friend’s parents
newly transplanted from the Camps of Poland
& Germany What do I see in front of me?
suburban lawn road survivor couple’s home
huge & on a hill they are rarely seen faces lined
& weatherbeaten no children they always smile at me
A boy from up the street Ashley sits on their hill most days
at 3 tormenting me Staring longingly at my bedroom window
Years later we heard that he was crushed in a taxi Cement truck
flipped over Goodbye Ashley
His face is round darkish skin His sister & her friend hate me
with a passion reserved for girls with gently curly hair & handsome
brothers They call out taunts from their balconies daily
In dreams I still walk by and eye their lumpy bodies & dishevelment
I shiver when cement trucks threaten & wonder how the story might be
re-written had I invited Ashley-boy inside In Chaos theory lingo:
Had the butterfly not flapped it’s wings would Ashley still be alive?
It was a strange world ahead. A thunderhead of a world
with jagged lightening edges. I went straight into it. It was
wide open. Bobby Zimmerman Chronicles 2004