Pearl Crescent · Kendall Lake

Cuyahoga’s Collar of Dissent 2020

by Monica Kaiser

I am cocooning,
& visualizing butterflies
to escape the dying,

the images

of people with tubes
down their throats.

A global diseasing.

Mother keeps warning.

Mother keeps warming.

I am guilty of climate genocide,

even as I fell in love
     with you, pearl crescent.
Even as I watched
     natural laws govern you,
summer after summer,
the continual reinvention
of yourself—
a finale of flames
puddled on wet ground,
an otherworldly orange.


your pigments & patterns
are fluid, vary state to state,
region to region. Your pearls
are persistent, rebellious by nature.
One by one,
you flitter, disperse.
out of sight. Down to open meadows,
to the throats & tubes
of flowers. Petal posers.
Wings open. Wings close.

Your proboscis sips the nectar’s
sweetness, as tiny spiracles allow air
into your tracheal tubes.

Systems are necessary for survival—
as is your courtship chase,
a possible fluttering, a coupling,
a joining of abdomens: copulation.

I, too, am a reinvention—
a dynamic energy
sheltering inside a bulldozed tree
as it snows,
as our gas furnace heats,
as our curtains shiver in its air,
as I visualize butterflies
& reimagine you & your
hindwing’s crescent pearls
quivering at the collar
of every

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American BeaverKatie Daley

Painted TurtleRebekah Ainsworth

Green DarnerMarion Boyer

Eastern Screech-OwlDr. R. Ray Gehani

Spring PeeperBarbara Sabol

Eastern Carpenter BeeSylvia Clark

Jacob's LadderRisha Nicole

Candleflame LichenClara Britton

Eastern NewtElizabeth Ryan

American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon

American ChestnutCarrie George

American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski

American HornbeamJeff Gundy

Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller

Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone

BluegillOlivia Farina

Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda

Common StonefliesKaren Schubert

Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp

Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes

Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman

Great MulleinLaurie Kincer

Green HeronPaula J. Lambert

HepaticaAmanda Schuster

Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny

Jack-in-the-PulpitMichael Buebe

Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin

Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming

MuskratCatherine Wing

Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser

Poison HemlockJon Conley

Star JelliesCameron Gorman

Sugar MapleSteve Brightman

Turkey VultureLaura Grace Weldon

White-footed MouseMichelle Bissell

White-tailed DeerBenjamin Rhodes

Wild CarrotJessica Jones


Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.