Written and photographed by Joe Guastella

Awakened queens emerge
from quaking chrysalis-wombs.
Kindred kings rise
from cracked-open tombs
empty as Easter Sunday;
down-side up suspended
shriveled wet
to spread painted kite wings.

Pump, pump
out the wrinkles slowly stretch.
Gravity oozes viscous waste
wasted not
to fill
the delicate vein’d
framework of flight;
dangling long
exposed vulnerable
such soft succulent
prey for armored mantids
(feigning supplicants
who wait with tibial spines
praying only for a meal.

Pump, pump
Hoist the colors!
Banners of orange and black
Beat now into the wind!
I can see your flutter and flit
across plain eastern beach dunes
along the sea south and west…

You September sailor
the chosen one-
generation four, stage four
migrant who wanders
but is not lost;
you whose thin wings carry
your species beyond
boundaries of frozen winter;
tarry not
for killing cold follows fast.
Light only to drink
uncoil your straw
into autumn’s last bloom.
Probe the nectaries deep within
linger just a moment
with clawed tarsi tasting
sugary secretions
to sustain you many miles
to winter sleep.

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