The butterfly doesn’t know where she is in her thousand-mile migration

October 18, 2012

When the monarch can finally trust herself
to look, she sees nothing but bright motion
down there, a billiant heave, spinning shelf
on spinning shelf, the tons of pouring ocean.

And one island. She plummets down to calm
on dune grass, her stomach filled with a bright mob
of eggs, her wings a brilliant stab at finding them
(please God) someplace to hatch, her brain a-throb

with greedy hope. But oh, the sky’s a rile
of wind against her, yowling and enraged.
If she could pray, she’d say—clinging, clinging—

I’m tired, God. You watch the world awhile.
She sleeps, while the sun, stuck in the ribcage
of a bare tree, mutters, Spring, spring.