Poems & Essays

02 Aug

Planting Milkweed

General/Column No Response

Pure white angel hair tufts
fountain from brown seed heads

I reach into the paper bag of soft silk
pull out handfuls like childhood dreams

to rub into the dirt
press down their urge to fly

so they settle and take root
in sunny spots where they might thrive

the weight of trapping those fragile wings
of tethering their lift so they have a chance

not just for themselves dwindling despite
their downy fullness but for the dying-off monarch 

the heaviness as I grind them in soil 
like telling my kids “no” and laying down rules 

so they struggle with constraint
to stay safe and grow strong bearing 

pod-fulls of notions that may nourish 
themselves and their world

my white dog wanders away as I plant
rolls in river otter scat and wild turkey droppings

I have to wrestle him in the tub
speak harshly pinching his haunches down hard

so I can scrub under his ear and chin his neck
so he comes out white and not smelling like crap

some seeds fly off beyond my grasp
landing in the marsh to shrivel in salt

some are blown up the driveway onto the street 
a few free-floaters will alight in just the right crevice

our neighbor’s son fell through the cracks
addicted to psychedelics at fifteen trapped 

clean in his drug-testing school but here now
on weekend leave flapping his long limbs

telling me his dream of flying to the Amazon 
to train as a sacred plant ingesting shaman 

as I smudge each feathered tendril into the earth.

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.

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