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Blue Morpho

by Susi Lopera

For years I watch Lucky the squirrel’s shag-carpet 

tail flit across sticky La Brea tar pits

as I trek from home to school and from school to home. 

But on a one-degree-hotter-than-usual Monday 

the tar pits become flypaper. I doodle 


a tombstone in math class, its epitaph: 

Here lies a squirrel, brave in spirit. Trapped in tar, 

he left me behind to walk without him. 


That afternoon I spend 

practicing with Dad. I take a new path 

past home to the gym so I won’t have to see 

my dead friend, the squirrel. 

At the gym, Dad’s body drops. 

Ligaments slingshot 

from their other halves. One centimeter 


overshot to the left—in his hand, a racket, 

in the air, a ball—and Dad’s down, a stegosaurus 

fossil on the wooden court. Dad’s out 


of commission now, so I fill afternoons 

with chit-chat at the diner, but with one word 

the lady in the red cap behind the register 

shoves my mind to back to last Monday: “Ma’am,

would you like fries with that?” 


Last Monday, my birthday—the hottest day of the year.

When I watched Lucky move toward the center 

of the tar. When dad turned half-robot 

after the doctor slapped on the aircraft-grade aluminum 

knee brace. That day, Dad made Mom leave 

to get my present. From the hospital bed, 

he handed me a glass box: 

a Blue Morpho butterfly, skewered 

through its thorax with a pin. 

About the Author

Susi Lopera is a multimedia artist and poet from Medellín, Colombia. She currently lives in Texas with her family and three silly dogs. She likes wearing mismatched socks and enjoys talking to herself in British and French accents. Her work has been published by Typishly, Likely Red Press, and Rigorous. 

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