Separatione

I.

The monarch takes
four generations to return
to Mexico, each pinpearl egg
lain on the underside
of a milkweed leaf.

How many generations
will it take to relinquish
the nectars we feed our pupae —
the latex —
that stifles flight?

II.

And now a great plume
of Saharan dust has crossed
and circles the Caribbean,
yellowing noon.

My skin has never traveled
that far — just — swirls about
as I shuffle my feet.

III.

In the devil’s gulch,
among the fern
and prickly pear, beneath
the palsied limbs of the burr oak
trees — skinks
warm their blood
on a red granite outcrop.

I have much to learn
about streets,
and the few comforts
found there.

IV.

Ten thousand hatchlings
stride the web. In this place
between the leaves, one mother
— alone, cards a generation.

Soon she will die — depleted.
Soon hatchlings will drink
from her legs. This must be so
— as all that is spindled,

All that is skeined.
All this was woven
so long ago.

V.

I squat low
to examine
a red beetle
on a milkweed leaf.
It has eight black spots.

I cannot
profess to own
such courage
as to stand before
this long, conspicuous
breath.

VI.

The thing about dogs is,
before them we babble,
like children.

Perhaps that is why
a dog, chained to a tree
bays and goads.
It has nothing
but the moon to tame:
It is — unleashed.

VII.

When the moon lifts
the sea, the umbrellas fold,
chairs are stacked,
the lifeguard perch — abandoned.

Gulls pick the remains —
leaving sandpipers
to rush the tide
and retreat.

VIII

To be alone
in the rages,
is to be feline:
nocturnal — brief.

 Image: Claudia Gschwend on Unsplash

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