Linda Lerner

The Butterfly Effect

been 18 years he said, since
you’ve been back, noting how long
didn’t compute its actual distance…
I had no clue, couldn’t wait to board that Delta plane;

back meant when I could still
walk those Haight Ashbury streets pretending
to be that young hippie chick I never was;
meant before 9/11, before I heard him say that
on returning from Viet Nam, he knew, that
was there, clearly marked, separate
was before someone at a ticket window asked,
senior? and felt myself teetering on an edge
was before I packed three chargers
that would connect me to what
I wanted to escape from, wouldn’t let me forget
who I was, allow me to play with time

I walked the familiar San Francisco streets
everything looked the same, only something didn’t feel right;
I didn’t get any warnings like the man
time tripping back millions of years in a Bradbury story*
told to stay on a path raised several inches above the ground
how stepping on a single blade of grass,
could affect the future…

eighteen spread its wings, fluttered and dropped down

*”A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury


Linda Lerner’s recent collections include A Dance Around the Cauldron,(Lummox press, 2017) a prose work consisting of nine characters during the Salem witch trials brought into our own times. Taking the F Train is forthcoming from NYQ Books. In spring, 2015 she read six poems on WBAI for Arts Express. In 1995 she and Andrew Gettler began Poets ontheLine,the first poetry anthology on the Net for which she was awarded two grants.