Orchid and Butterfly

By Nels Hanson

I’ve read that every human family has

a smell but prefers the odors of other

families to its own. One butterfly in


Africa would agree, say, “I’ve become

my scent I’ve changed.” Zulu Blues

exude the fragrance that unwary ants


recognize as belonging to their brood.

They carry the caterpillar to the nest,

appear unconcerned as it devours a


colony whose scent it stole. Orchids

use aroma to deceive. Beguiling wasps,

bees and others to spread their pollen


some species took color and shape of

female hexapods, emit their irresistible

perfume and with males in thrall they


copulate. Many sensing wasps prefer

a flower’s musk to a lover’s and leave

in mid-embrace an insect for an orchid.


Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher, and contract writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, Pushcart Prize nominations in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and has appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, and other journals. Poems appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pacific Review, and other magazines, and are in press at Sharkpack Review Annual, The Straddler, Stoneboat, Meat for Tea, Insert Lit Mag Here, and The Mad Hatter’s Review. Poems in Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine and Citron Review have been nominated for 2014 Pushcart Prizes.