On a Car Colliding with a Butterfly

Jeff Guess


Unfolding in late autumn air

unfurling down the slipstream of a road

into a tiny ragged orange flag

at odds in its erratic flight pattern

with the wind and wayside grass.

One could exaggerate such a thing

this idiosyncratic badge of small beauty

as if all of nature this afternoon

metamorphosed into two soft petals

fluttering down the runnels – here,

of what’s left of freedom. Slamming

against the windscreen – pinned in

the flattened moment.


Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Jeff Guess has taught English in country and metropolitan secondary schools, ‘Writing Poetry’ at the Adelaide Institute of TAFE, and tutored at the University of South Australia.  His first book Leaving Maps appeared in 1984 and was hailed by Judith Rodriguez in The Sydney Morning Herald as ‘a major collection’. Since then ten collections have been published, the most recent being Autumn in Cantabile (2011). Jeff has written three textbooks on teaching poetry and edited nine poetry anthologies. He has won numerous prizes for his poetry and been awarded six writing grants.

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