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Saturday, February 06, 2021


by Phyllis Klein

To know it only as a photograph, a memory.
Never to witness again a community of millions clustered 
on Eucalyptus branches, now empty.
These fragile slivers of stained glass
no longer clinging to winter respites.
What is a world that would allow
this extravagant pollinator to die off?
This migrational miracle. 
Rumi says, You were born 
with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
I want a humanity that weeps 
copiously for this animal who starts off 
in a crawl, shows us how to fly. I want
processions, dirges everywhere,
want to howl over milkweed, bereft, without 
purpose. So much loss. I want to rend my garments.
Burn kaleidoscopes of butterflies into my skin.
What good would that do? Or I could slice
open the sky, so their ghosts torrent down. 

What do I know of softness—my origins 
in an ice-house, in a tradition of cruelty,
of abhorration, torn appendages. Where
are the wings for this? Where the flashes 
of orange slipped through our fingers?

Phyllis Klein’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is a finalist in the Sweet Poetry Contest, 2017, the Carolyn Forché Humanitarian Poetry Contest, 2019, and the Fischer Prize, 2019. She was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2018 and again in 2020. She has a new book, The Full Moon Herald  from Grayson Books. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years, she sees writing as artistic dialogue between author and readers—an intimate relationship-building process that fosters healing on many levels.