Monarchs of my Youth

by John Szabo

She climbs effortlessly,
soaring against a stiff unpredictable wind,
her curved noble yellow beak
cutting through the dry, hot air,
higher and impossibly higher still.

Splayed against her back,
I dig my hands deep within her warmth;
soft feathers, beating heart,
smooth, thin bones.

She carries me away
from all that is the
heaviness of life.

In her prime a messenger
for Apollo, Hermes, Mercury and Circe,
her green eyes of emerald scan below.

Where once there were hills of wild chaparral,
canyons of lavender,
golden poppies and milkweed,
beautiful stained-glass Monarchs of my summer youth,
mice, jackrabbits, coyotes and deer;
reduced to roadkill,
endless suburbia;
a foreclosed wasteland.

I hope we not meet the same fate as Icarus,
but wings of wax these are not.
She rises ever higher still against a warm updraft,
my head buried deep within a plumage of my childhood:
nautical theme wallpaper,
Farrah Fawcett,
plastic green army men ready for battle.

I could do worse than disappear
into the down feather pillow of my youth;
never to return.


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