When I drop off her son, she grabs a paper bag and fills it with soft white down, each tuft fountaining out from a small brown kernel.
I jump out of the van, hold the bag over the stalk while she strips off their paisley-shaped pods, a few stray seeds swirling up.
I remember how as a child I would reach to the splitting husks in the corner of my yard, pull out the silk, draw it apart, let each fly
one by one, explorers in parachutes, or hot air balloons, off to discover the world beyond stone wall and sumac.
–Are you sure you want me to take them all? –Oh god yes. I’m going to rip them up. I’ve never seen a monarch on any of them. Plus, they spread everywhere.
I sink my hand into the bag of silk treasure like a sachet of memories, –Did your elementary school teacher ever blind fold you, plunge your hand into strange bowls of stuff?
–Ha! Do you remember painting the pods gold and hanging them on Christmas trees? We laugh as I chase escapees so they won’t repopulate her yard.
–Good luck, she says, as I back down her drive with my son. I may never get a monarch either— but I got five minutes with another nearly fifty-year-old woman, laughing, remembering,
bending together to milkweed, when all we ever do is text.
Jennie Meyer, M.Div., is a mother, poet, yogi, and labyrinth walker. Her poetry is forthcoming or published in Folded Word, Anchor Magazine, Albatross, Artis Natura, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, The Avocet Weekly, Common Ground Review, and Patchwork Journal. Jennie lives in Gloucester, MA with her husband, three children, and resident wildlife.