The Butterflies of Traxl IV

Traxl IV – known primarily
for its chlorinated sea
breezes & an outcropping
shaped naturally
into the exquisitely perfect
contours of the legendary
Terran Butterfly, as near
anyway to the common
illustrations still found
in children’s storybooks –
once suffered
a twist of economical fate
no invisible hand could muster

the rocky outcropping
of intergalactic fame,
the beacon to any tourist
with sense organs & travel
capability who could withstand
or avoid the atmosphere,

disintegrated inexplicably –
a sand castle dissolved
by unseen tides

a generation mourned
the monument as tourists
forgot it, a crumbled Colossus
of no further use; when
the spiral cliffs
began to change – no one
noticed them at first, no
scientists with seismographers
ran to record new data,
no artists drew, danced, or wrote
odes to rock – & yet
this change
the very

winds picked up; rain, little
though it was, came to deserts;
even the moons seemed new,
& the chlorine dissipated –
when the oldest woman
left in the colony still knew
the legend of the Butterfly
as story only, the cliffs exploded

chunks of planetary surface,
the very stuff that people trod
down for hundreds of years,
the sediment layered in lives
forgotten, flew, crashed, destroyed,
sending tidal waves to choke
dry land as dry land itself
seemed intent on death –
the colonists hid
beneath their beds, in closets,
secured in basements behind
the biodomes, sheltering from battle,
quaking from nature still

forty weeks of destructive
chaos, a disaster without
the dignity to introduce itself;
within, the humble realization
that life is more powerful
than those who live it,
resilience despite the odds –

the dust cleared enough then
to see the world they thought
was theirs, to see what life
was wrought upon them, to see

the wonders dreams cannot
conceive, as across the sky,
beyond the new breezes slowly
clearing away the haze, iridescent
wings shone the envy of rainbows,
as boulder-sized bodies lifted,
light as sunlight into the atmosphere,
slowly turning between
the moons, rise & fall, rise & fall
of a thousand thousand wings
born to fly





reinhartAn arsonist by trade, John Reinhart lives on a farmlette in Colorado with his wife and children. He is a frequent contributor at Songs of Eretz, editor at Poetry Nook, member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and received the 2016 Horror Writers Association Dark Poetry Scholarship Award. His chapbook, encircled, is available from Prolific Press, with two more poetry collections out soon. More of his work is available at: and