Stand here with me at the mountain
meadow’s high edge and watch:
now that the longest days have gone
once more and the monarchs,
which through spring and summer
came to lay or feed on them,
have flown away to winter
in more temperate zones,
these milkweed stalks no longer bend
one by one to the mere dependency
of those fluttering throngs.
Instead they lean in unison
as though bowing in homage
to a beckoning wind, succumb
to the tendril tongue of autumn sun
that coaxes them to open spindle pods
wide enough to free from husky hold
the myriad white-feathered seeds
that they expel like a last breath
across the rustling fields; and these,
their promise and their progeny,
waltz the saffron day away
taken up on highland melodies.
Although we cannot hear them now,
my love, I want us to imagine
how our final dance might be
as light as theirs, how we will float
above the stony ground, following
another secret music, bound to find
its origin hidden within a single note.

— first appeared in Whiskey Island Magazine