Once, I saw a monarch butterfly dead on pavement - | Kirsten Reneau
Updated: Dec 27, 2020
Brown and black wings folded, one over the other, as if it was sleeping, curled into the fetal position. It was Sunday morning and patrons were leaving the church I sometimes pretended I went to. I was hoping the bundles of people walking by, still holding their programs, wouldn’t notice that my clothes smelled of gin. It was cold outside, the bitter cold of a knife’s edge. I remember because I was wearing shorts because the night before I was drunk and had tripped on concrete and tore my skin up, and I was shaking as I tried to walk off. For a minute I thought maybe that’s why the monarch was dead, that the cold bit right through them, but then a car drove by and over the busted wing and I realized the truth. There is no patron saint for butterflies that land in the middle of the road, but maybe it’s for the best. I imagine it would hard to be the saint of something that was born destined to destroy themselves.
Kirsten Reneau is working on her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of New Orleans, where she is a nonfiction editor for Bayou Magazine. Her work can also be seen in The Threepenny Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Hobart, Trampset, and others. You can follow her on twitter: @Reneauglow.