Monarchs


by Katie Berger


 

Monarchs

 

In a country where lightning bruises

trees so easily I can flinch or I can

remember. You can ask

if I’ve seen the skeleton

of a strip mall off 275–the new one–

and I answer with drawings

of skyscrapers that in kindergarten, painted

and ruined, I flipped on their side and instead

insisted were bullet trains. And the trauma

 

of the paper lanterns, too: stripped

from the restaurant of wontons

and ice cream and re-wired

into the massage place across the street.

Hands can return to the problem

spots on the thighs or back but do not speak

of rebirth.

 

I stopped searching for monarchs

when every sunset thoroughfared

dull in my memory. Say yes

to the orange and black paint. What you think

is a monarch is often the viceroy

butterfly—it won’t migrate

if it was never here.

 


Katie Berger holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and lives in Nebraska. She is the author of Time Travel: Theory and Practice, and Swans, both from Dancing Girl Press, as well as a number of poems, stories, and essays that have appeared or are forthcoming in Cherry Tree, Thimble, The Maynard, and others. She can be found at http://www.katie-berger.com