Spring/Summer 2002

QW #52



If a butterfly flapping its wings in Beijing
could cause a hurricane off the coast of Florida,
so could a deck of cards shuffled at a picnic.
So could the clapping hands of a father
watching his son rounding the bases,
the wind sculpting his baggy pants.
So could a woman reading a book of poems,
a tiny current from a turned page
slipping out the open window, nudging
a passing breeze: an insignificant event
that could snowball months later into a monsoon
at a coastal village halfway around the world.
Palm trees bowing on the shore.
Grass huts disintegrating like blown dandelions.

Hard to believe, but when I rewind my life,
starting from a point when my heart
was destroyed by a hurricane of grief,
I see the dominoes rising, how that storm
was just a gale weeks earlier, a gust
days before that. Finally I see where it all began.
I say hello to a woman sitting alone
at the bar, a tattoo butterfly perched
on her ankle, ready to reek havoc.

You can read David Hernandez’s poetry, "The Butterfly Effect" in its entirety in Quarterly West issue #52.