V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




      —for Rachel and Leonard

When they first appear 
you assume a nocturnal 
leafstorm must be sweeping 
the interstate, the highway 
all topsy-turvy, its forested 
borders shaken for miles. 

If you could pinpoint the precise 
moment you know you are witness 
to no freak flurry of maple, aspen, poplar, ash, 
but pair after dizzying 
pair of orange & brown wings 
gliding south on currents of air, pressed 
against your windshield, collapsed 
onto your hood and rooftop, stuck 
to your sideview mirrors and headlights, spun 
around your tires at 75 miles 
an hour, you might offer it to friends 
and family as a scene in progress.

Years later you would assemble us 
to watch it metamorphose 
into photographs 
from your honeymoon in Provence, 
this time two passengers 
cocooned in sunlight, driving past 
medieval hill towns 
and fields of flowering mustard. 

But if you were to tell anyone 
why you pulled over to the side 
of the road, the wipers unable 
to keep up, your van filled 
with a twenty-two year old’s lifetime 
of belongings, no one, not even 
your future partner still a stranger 
in the very town you were fleeing, 
could fathom how late at night it was, 
how alone you were, or how many 
thousands surrounded you so suddenly 
and miraculously, on route to the Oyamels 
in Mexico where monarchs go to winter.

So you’ve kept them to yourself 
as a portent, dreaming in code,
mirthful now as milkweed, 
a new journey about to begin 
at the intersection of beauty, 
suspense, bounty, and release.

© by Kate Sontag


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