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Sunday, February 23, 2014


by Tricia Knoll

“Monsanto’s Roundup and genetically modified crops are harming everybody’s favorite butterfly.” -- Warren Cornwall, Slate, January 29, 2014

“The monarch earned a mention yesterday at the summit between the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada. ‘We have also agreed to work on the preservation of the monarch butterfly as an emblematic species of North America which unites our three countries,’ Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said at the conclusion of the one-day summit.” -- Tim Johnson, Miami Herald, February 20, 2014

Lear floated his orange and black king-robe
over a land of riches, undivided by boundaries,
surrounded by gilded butterflies of court,

assuming he had many to choose
from, the daughter-flowers of his loins,
his flight certain in reign and retinue.

Sorrow. His good world
not so good. Poisoned. Vicious.
Short-sighted. All he took

for granted a last wingless jump
from a low cliff, obscure.
His day of the monarch dwindling

as branches wind-ripped from firs,
the flattering tongues of milkweed
and sycophants lying, patterns

dividing machinations
of the false from the loyalty
of the good

magnetized migrations.
Lear asks Cordelia to share
who wins, who loses.

This monarch,
the oldest who hath born
the most.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland poet, snowbound alone in her house for seven days. Her chapbook Urban Wild is now available from Finishing Line Press.