She was in Mexico for some paper chain of reasons,
same way she landed anywhere in her days of plenty—
so many languages to pick up, countries to travel through,
mouths to consider kissing, and she could
walk all day, eat anything, add hot sauce,
ask for money from home without reckoning,
wake at noon and stretch without pain.
Then after one ridiculously cold night—
“It’s never like this,” the guide said—
she stood knee-deep in monarch butterflies
and shivered, once. Not from cold; maybe
from acres of crepe wings stiff in a low breeze,
antennae against her shins.
Little boys in drifts of dulling orange were trying
to pack balls of wings to throw at each other;
she thought perhaps she wouldn’t have children.
Or guides, like this one who soothingly repeated,
“The monarchs are sleeping.”
Sarah Lindsay is the author of Twigs and Knucklebones, Mount Clutter, and Primate Behavior (a National Book Award finalist). She has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize, and earns her keep as a copy editor in North Carolina.
The Memory of Gills by Catherine Carter.
The Girl with Bees in Her Hair by Eleanor Wilner.
Shadow Box by Fred Chappell.
Homepage photo via Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/farflungphotos/2531438211/