Mid-morning early June, I’m sweating already in my too-tight jeans sitting here in slack discomfort. The commencement speaker, bald and male, and in every otherwise totally clichéd. Academically gowned, certified-mundane asshole. Silver-tongued he is not. The timeless iconic epitome these obligations are meant to be. He is full of generic boredom while his bland declarative sentences float in the hot toxic air over our heads toward the auditorium ceiling. I cannot suppress a yawn as flutters of orange and yellow butterflies escape from my mouth. A hot, pretty senior beside me giggles, cupping from around my head whole handfuls of whirling lepidoptera. She jewels her lovely long blonde hair in dappled white and blue butterflies as she smiles knowingly at me. Coincidently, the speaker too has mentioned somewhat jokingly about the butterflies in his stomach as he apologizes for traditionally boring us shitless on such a beautiful day–ok, he’s not even interesting enough to actually say shitless. Yawn. But he actually says we are wasting our time in here listening to him. Maybe he means it. And as I yawn once again out roars a Pearl-Orange Harley Mirage Sportster, black and purple-edged butterflies painted on the gas tank, laughter bellowing out of its blinding chrome exhausts. Now the whole audience is hooting and clapping, on their feet and smiling as the beautiful blonde and I, with all the world’s butterflies still in her hair, climb up on the Harley. She behind, with her lovely arms wrapped around my chest. Cracking the throttle I lift the gleaming bike into a wheelie and up the aisle we varooom to hell outa there. Trailing Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Painted Ladies fluttering all over the joy-to-laughter audience, vivid and iridescent. While we escape into the clear June-filled day, tailing behind us still more lepidoptera.
Ed Higgins has had poems and short fiction appear in various print and online journals including: Monkeybicycle, Pindeldyboz, Tattoo Highway, Word Riot, Concho River Review, Foliate Oak, Ayris: Art & Literary Magazine, and Blue Print Review, among others. My wife and I live on a small farm in Yamhill OR, raising a menagerie of animals including two whippets, a manx barn cat (who doesn’t care for whippets), two Bourbon Red turkeys (King Strut and Nefra-Turkey), and an alpaca named Machu-Picchu. He teaches writing and literature at George Fox University.