Pen to Paper: “Me, nectar”

The vision of a monarch isn’t just a

Halloween rhapsody to me, a momentary

Ah! Those colors!

So graceful and quietly fleeting!

they’ll say.


I’m irritated, offended

by their believed knowingness

of a beauty they don’t know,

they never knew. Maybe fifteen years ago,

they could have known.


The milkweed wings, tawny-orange

with veins of ebony, belong to a twelve year old

monarch, fair skin and veins of crimson,

the ones that give you life,

but now they, too, are black.


She had braces

that she should have used as a weapon,

but instead used to read me stories

of Biscuit the Dog. The lisp was a butterfly’s

flutter, endearing and soft.


I wish she embraced the sharpness

of the wires to hold on, to betray her bounded

flight. I dreamt they removed the dirt

from her teeth, from the pink and blue brackets,

to show the white spots of her monarch wings.


I’m six, and I dance out this reverie

to her mother. She cries, and laughs

a dazzled laugh. I’m twelve, and she tells me

they did floss the mud, they did shave away

the cement and glue.


No one but she knew this.

I’m twenty-one, and I still watch

monarchs as I did when I was six.

I don’t reach for her, I don’t chase,

but I do wait, I do long,


for her to land on my outstretched palm.

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