Danielle Armstrong

The Ultrasound Will Show Chrysalides

I’ve started hiccupping butterflies when he comes near me. At first they were just skippers, small and brownish, tickling my throat as they climbed delicately on my esophagus until air rushed into my lungs and they burst into flight. Two days ago there was a hoard of fritillaries, almost coughing the large insects out, whenever I tried to speak to him. I’ve decided to see a doctor, but I’m going to have to bring him along, or else no one will believe me.

I imagine the ultrasound will show chrysalides, some just empty shells, and others with the new insects struggling out of the brown and green casings, stretching their newly formed wings ready for escape when he walks in the door. When he moved into the office, earlier this month, dark nests of eggs must have strung themselves between my ribs. I would stare at him from my cubicle in the corner. I thought the prickling in my abdomen came from nervousness alone. Now, when I go to use the copier by his desk, I smile and hope there aren’t any veiny wings or legs between my teeth as I ask him what plans he has for after work.