The day he learned he likely had cancer
more tests the doctor said my mother said
my father sent his children
a video clip
sound down I clicked through
though I don’t often
to find a thick kaleidoscope of monarchs
in a snug humid Mexican forest
hard to tell at first what odd-
textured fabric weighed down
the branches shrouded
the ancient trunks
then closer it seemed not fabric
but a proliferation of petals
born of the trees & grown
like children
too heavy too many for the trees to carry
then closer closer the minute flexing
no longer petals then
but a looming body of creatures in deft camouflage
together magnificent
tall as a father
every turn of a wing the involuntary trembling
of a pinky finger
every movement shimmying out the monarch’s body proper
what I had begun now to long for
a glory of black & flame black & flame
how they released themselves so knowingly
into the soft
wet air black & flame black & flame
fabric again yes transformed by instinct
shredded confettied airborne
every monarch in singular spiral flight he didn’t write
a word not
our lives my life my whole life
not even
I love you he just
pasted the video into the frame as if
to say to us his living children
I couldn’t keep it to myself these creatures this
impossible joy
this is the most
important thing I could tell you today

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