Resilience II

Feast on bitter milkweed, nourishment
and nursery. Store its poison like revenge
against the frog, bird, lizard, mouse
who would prey on your tiger stripes.
And when the days grow shorter, join
a caravan, become someone’s argument.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.
Leave go-it-alone, the cold, be anything
but exceptional as you fly thousands of miles,
a monarch among planes, arriving by fall,
Day of the Dead, marigolds and coxcomb,
your only visit to Mexico a heralded return.

Huddle in oyamel firs on steep slopes at night,
breaking branches with your featherweight,
and once the sun has warmed you, give
the royal wave of a million orange gloves.
You’ll bear heirs in spring, pass the crown.
Meanwhile, live from your larder in diapause.

Our feast is bitter, too, but never slows down,
and heat is the poison we store. It causes
oyamel to die, at least the ones not logged.
How do you rescue a winter palace in ruins?
Plant the forest higher where it’s cooler,
like a house on stilts, say the scientists.

A Deferred Action for Climate Ailments?
Dreamers, we’re looking for higher ground,
seeding uphill. Where fire travels fastest.

Brandel France de Bravo is the author of Provenance, the chapbook Mother, Loose and the editor of a bilingual anthology of contemporary Mexican poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel, The Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore and elsewhere. She teaches a meditation program developed at Stanford University called Compassion Cultivation Training.©

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