The Monarch


They search for a new frontier
A new land, through the Rockies and the Appalachians
Over the thickets and prairies
They fly to a mystical land that once belonged to the Aztecs
And Mayans, where Avocado trees rise
Tall and strong and little Mexicans
Make the long mile for a notorious freedom.

And they fly knowing they are vulnerable
To the herbicides that are sprayed
In the corn bowl or in little vegetable patches
Where cabbages grow. Butterflies that know
Their flaming orange wings are falling
Just like the sperm count, in a battle for a right
Of any species – to be extant and not extinct.

In this vortex of a turquoise globe
And amidst the rising temperatures, they migrate
Each autumn to where there are pyramids coated in white
And undergrown lakes. And they stop to rest
On little leaves, and suckle the nectar of Milkweed and Zinnia
On their route to the other side of America.

And like the Vietnam War
The killing fields are sprayed with herbicide.
As wings deform or molt like limbs of Vietnamese children.

And little stunted creatures can be seen climbing
Out of a cocoon, wiggling like earth worms
In the absence of fully-fledged wings.

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