A Great Wheel Beginning to Turn Again

When they’ve all flown the coop,
every last one of them,
without so much as a thank-you
(though there were times, there were certainly times),
when there’s no one left to worry about
and check for
and love,
no need for milkweed
good weather
favorable winds
and hope,
then maybe you can imagine
a great wheel beginning to turn again,
a clattering of wings
that you can’t hear yet,
and if you can’t imagine, then
you learned nothing, are nowhere
when it’s four-o’-clock, already dark.

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One of the Main Reasons I Wrote Almost Nothing This Summer

To tell you the truth, I preferred staying silent,
just tending caterpillars, releasing butterflies.
There are no prizes for butterflies — though
some people post fantastic numbers, how many
they’ve raised, so I can use that as a yardstick of
my worth, if I ever need another one. But
most of the time, I’m just cleaning poop
(calling it frass to show that I know), sewing
chrysalises or chrysalids or chrysalides back up
if they fall, then reaching in to help them out,
the new butterflies, just as dazed as I am
to see the sun, to get the vague idea
of something else they need to do,
someplace else they should be.



Instars: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 28

The balls of frass
are larger now,
a simple matter of
more leaves in,
more leaves out.
Filaments waggle,
feet undulate,
a puzzlement of
parts that won’t
be needed just
a few days from
now. Now is
almost constant
chewing, with
pauses to split
the skin, and
then to grab,
another leaf.
So many view
as a miracle—
how surprising,
then, that it
comes down to
this chewing,
this effort,
this poop.


Several Words from an Authority on Milkweed: April 2015 PAD Challenge, Day 19

Look, man, if you really want
the most successful butterfly puddle
possible, you really gotta pee on it —
that’s in addition to the cow manure.
Cow manure, human pee: Got it?

(But if you do this, don’t tell anyone.)

Hairy balls milkweed comes from Africa
and is perennial in Zone 8, can be grown
elsewhere as an annual, for laughs
and because caterpillars love crawling
all over those green testicles.

Please form a strong opinion now,
on the subject of tropical milkweed.
Be prepared to defend your choice
against link attack. You are either
destroying monarchs or saving them,
depending on the day or on who is
firing off which set of links.

Have you heard the story of the person
who got milkweed sap in her eye? Consider
wearing safety goggles in the garden.

Do you have enough milkweed?
Can you ever have enough milkweed?
Should you order more milkweed?

These are the questions I ask myself
at night — and then I wake up screaming.