Poised to Catch the Wind
Two days before Thanksgiving
I lock my car with its
fine veneer of Oklahoma dust
in the parking lot near Harms Woods
and dance cheek to cheek with
a bitter Illinois wind up a hillside
to the top of the overpass.
The meadow once blooming
with staghorn sumac, ox-eye daisies
and stouthearted bands of milkweed
today lies barren and buzz-cut.
Not one bedraggled milkweed stalk
poses for my camera,
not one split-open pod hangs
in the balance, its silken threads
poised to catch the wind.
I tramp through moldering leaves
searching in vain for signs that
milkweed still grew here last summer
when the monarchs returned,
when clouds of the quivering
orange and black butterflies
alighted in this woodland,
when they came home like me.