Have You Seen Where the Monarchs Go
by Lois Marie Harrod
You arrive in the evening, later than you expect
because no one has warned you
of ice storms and mountain roads. You come upon them,
a few on isolated firs,
then suddenly in the forest beyond,
the drifting canopy of their orange pavilions,
a hundred thousand parachutes, so silk the trees bend down.
In the dusk it seems as if the air has gathered their diminishing light
and given it heft and form. The firs are glittering
like aspen in the rawest sun.
You walk among the needles, but the floor is littered with plumes like leaves,
you take off your shoes and ask what it means to walk on wings.
It does not seem that you are treading down the czars or scaling realm
to microscopic coin. In the Judas moon you watch them hang silver,
hibernating: to suspend yourself so silently is to dream. At dawn
they will quiver like violins filling the air with resin,
they will warm to their scales,
and then, because there are so many, you will hear the beating
of quadrillion wings. They will lift and you will feel the air
brushing your face
like a whisper. And then perhaps you will hear the one who brought you,
the one you have been following since it lit on the milkweed in your meadow,
your monarch with his spots and webs, his oratory, his stained-glass veins. Yes, you are waiting. . .