Mariposa Monarca
by Ann Thornfield-Long

On my way to see
my mother in Evergreen,
I stay overnight in Colby.
Sun-flowered
flat land charms me
and births memories
of snapping beans
in the swing, sitting
by my grandmother
who tells family stories
in the long-shadowed
afternoons.

In my hotel room, I open
the curtains and outside I see—
floating leaves? No!
Hundreds of butterflies
elbowing the sky! A popsicle-
colored wingding; a ceilidh,
a corroboree that showers me.
I take smeared photographs,
can hardly wait to tell
I saw the Monarchs!

The next day when I get there,
mother cannot hear.
The thrill of migration
caught her up.
She’d flown away.

I stop alongside
the long road home
to Tennessee
and fill my pockets with
milkweed seeds.


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