Lesson from Giant Swallowtail

I’ve been expecting him
since his mother scattered
hurried shadows over
the orange tree two weeks ago.
Still, when it comes, his reveal is

sudden as the lightning bolts
on his velvet wings,
the morning mist nearly
concealing his midnight black,
his Fred Astaire elegance.

But this is 2020, a year
that staggers to the end
holding its head in its hands,
and even his butterfly
perfection is imperfect,

his right wing torn at the tip—
a chink in the order of things,
a blink in the sweet alignment
of stars and a moon and
a master plan.

The air picks him up
and discards him like
a scrap of paper turned
end over end to skid across
the street. Another breeze
comes, another, and another—

until he shrugs and lifts
and disappears dancing
over the tops of trees,
bent on procreation.
And it looks like he’ll make it,

intent on continuation
despite a world of wounds
and scars. As if to say
Fine then, I’m ready for this,
I’ll take it.

. . . . .

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