• he still thinks about it sometimes

    The boy found the cocoon in the backyard.

     

    “Let’s take it inside,” the mother said.

     

    “Let’s put it in a jar.
    When it finally wakes up,
    when it flutters out of that shell,
    we can put it on our fingers and watch it fly away with the wind.”

     

    So they did.
    The jar was placed gently
    in the northwest corner of the kitchen beside the fruit basket,
    promises under its lid.

     

    Scrambled egg days and jelly sandwich nights passed,
    the cocoon still laying inside the glass.
    The mother grabbed some apples to slice,
    knocking the fruit basket a few inches to the left.

     

    Like shampoo on a vacation,
    or the lyrics to a nursery rhyme,
    the cadence of a father’s footsteps
    after he’s been gone for fifteen years—
    they forgot.

     

    A month later, the boy reached for a banana.
    His eyes fell on the jar.
    In the bottom was a shriveled cocoon and a dead moth.