• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 04
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Butterflies Migrate

Butterflies migrate, the mariposa monarca
makes the two-way passage each year,
gathering with their communities in the
oyamel fir forests, huddled on hillsides
for warmth until the winter wanes
and together they dance their way to
the eucalyptus and Monterey pines
to give wings to the next generation.

Aren’t butterflies a symbol of migration?
a voice suggests as we bend over logos
in a church basement, surrounded by
little papers with laws and large papers
with chants, frozen in time for decades.
Yes, someone responds, but butterflies
are so fragile—they die by the thousands.

I lift my eyes to see through the pipes, the
pews, and the hardwood floor and wonder
if there are monarchs roosting in the cedar
canopy above the front steps, if they deemed
this worthy of a congregation site, to rest before
day returns and they raise antennae to the blue
beyond, to die or migrate by the thousands.