The Monarch


They search for a new frontier
A new land, through the Rockies and the Appalachians
Over the thickets and prairies
They fly to a mystical land that once belonged to the Aztecs
And Mayans, where Avocado trees rise
Tall and strong and little Mexicans
Make the long mile for a notorious freedom.

And they fly knowing they are vulnerable
To the herbicides that are sprayed
In the corn bowl or in little vegetable patches
Where cabbages grow. Butterflies that know
Their flaming orange wings are falling
Just like the sperm count, in a battle for a right
Of any species – to be extant and not extinct.

In this vortex of a turquoise globe
And amidst the rising temperatures, they migrate
Each autumn to where there are pyramids coated in white
And undergrown lakes. And they stop to rest
On little leaves, and suckle the nectar of Milkweed and Zinnia
On their route to the other side of America.

And like the Vietnam War
The killing fields are sprayed with herbicide.
As wings deform or molt like limbs of Vietnamese children.

And little stunted creatures can be seen climbing
Out of a cocoon, wiggling like earth worms
In the absence of fully-fledged wings.


Published by

meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist, who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. Dilantha wrote his first poem at the ripe age of 32 and now has more than 1700 poems on his blog. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, Kitaab, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry and Ravens Perch, among others. He was also awarded the prize for "The emerging writer of the year - 2016" in the Godage National Literary Awards, Sri Lanka for his first collection of poems (Kite Dreams – A Sarasavi Publication), while being shortlisted for the poetry prize. Dilantha is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and Australia, and shares his experiences from two different cultures. He blogs at - https://meandererworld.

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