May/June 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 3 Nature’s Nature 2020 |

Monarch

Whether they find the milkweed By sight or smell, they drift by us & care nothing for our witness. Or the ridiculous name, honoring An Orange king. So little time to Be alive: to survive is to propagate. As if imitating, unaware, the noble Distinction the title confers — resistance Of all human longing. Let the pretender Viceroy mimic these fire wings, black veins, this natural toxicity. A true Monarch cares only for the brief reign of perpetuity, unshadowed days as Sun King. Mindless talk of the soul, Of transformation, reveal only how All politics derive from common illusion. A winging sceptre named for hopeless Desire: to be ruled by air, by indifference, Yet in belief of the ragged premise of miracles. The monarch cannot see you. Somewhere a Royal body is drawn to the flowers earth offers At last. So few left & each one dying in its majesty.

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