by Monica Kaiser
I am cocooning,
& visualizing butterflies
to escape the dying,
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
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
American BeaverKatie Daley
American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon
American ChestnutCarrie George
American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski
American Giant MillipedeMary Quade
American HornbeamJeff Gundy
American White WaterlilyGeoffry Polk
Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller
Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone
Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda
Common StonefliesKaren Schubert
Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp
Eastern Tent Caterpillar MothZachary Thomas
Eastern Red-backed SalamanderTovli Simiryan
Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes
Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman
Great MulleinLaurie Kincer
Green HeronPaula J. Lambert
Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny
Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin
Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming
Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser
Poison HemlockJon Conley
Red-Headed Ground BeetleBob King
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.